TCC Podcast #48: Copy Mentoring with Marcella Allison

Copywriter Marcella Allison is the only person who has “cubbed” for the biggest names in copywriting including Parris Lampropolous, Clayton Makepeace, David Deutch and Mark Ford. And she’s learned a lot along the way. Marcella stopped by our virtual studio to chat with Rob and Kira about:
•  how she got started as a copywriter (twice)
•  whether copywriters can develop a talent for writing about complex things
•  how an unexpected kiss from Marty Edelston transformed her career
•  the importance of mentorship in building your career in copywriting
•  the top lessons she learned from two of her mentors
•  how to effectively use the feedback you get from a mentor, and
•  the lesson David Deutch accidentally taught her about ego.

Plus, Marcella shares the “beginning painter” learning trick she recommends if you want to break into a copywriting niche. This episode is another good one you won’t want to miss. Click the play button below, or scroll down for a full transcript.

Most of the people and stuff we mentioned on the show:

Sponsor: AirStory

Ry Schwartz
Brian Kurtz
F&W Publications
Schaeffer’s Investment Research
Money Map Press
David Deutch
Parris Lampropolous
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
AWAI
Agora Financial
Kevin Addington
Bottomline
Lori Haller
Marty Edelston
Mark Ford
Clayton Makepeace
Stansbury Research
Chris Alsop
Advanced Bionutritionals
John Carlton’s Simple Copywriting System
Kevin Rogers
Ask Method
Product Launch Formula
Early to Rise
Hay House
Natural Health Sherpa
Titanides.com
Kira’s website
Rob’s website
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
Outro: Gravity

Full Transcript:

The Copywriter Club Podcast is sponsored by Airstory, the writing platform for professional writers who want to get more done in half the time. Learn more at Airstory.co/club.

Kira: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Rob and I do every week at the Copywriter Club Podcast.

Rob: You’re invited to join the club for episode 48 as we chat with freelance copywriter Marcella Allison about how she became a copywriter working with A list mentors like Parris Lampropoulos and David Deutsch and her secret for landing a steady stream of clients without a website.

Kira: Marcella, welcome.

Marcella: Hi, guys. I’m going to be notorious for that now. Like everyone’s going to be like, “I can’t believe she doesn’t have her own website.” You guys are going to hear about that.

Rob: You’re actually not our first guest that didn’t have a website.

Marcella: Oh good.

Rob: At least until they got on the podcast. Ry Schwartz is a copywriter in the internet space, didn’t have a website last year when we talked to him. He does now finally so maybe this will be the spark that gets you a website, Marcella.

Kira: Or maybe you just don’t need it because you’re that good.

Marcella: I don’t know about that.

Kira: Marcella, I think a good place to start is we had met at our titans masterclass, Brian Kurtz’s group and you were my advocate during the hot seat session and I think you were the best. I forget if we called it an advocate. Basically, you were representing my needs and you were the best one there. So I oh you big time and I’m excited to dig more into how you got into copywriting and hear more about your experiences so far. So I think a good place to start is with just your story. How did you end getting into copywriting?

Marcella: Well, one thing, I have to I’ve a big shout out to Brian Kurtz because I have to say the reason I was a good advocate was I had trial by fire at his titans event being an advocate for 30 people that day.

Kira: That makes sense.

Marcella: I did have a bit of practice. I did have a bit of practice.

Kira: I did not know that. That makes sense.

Marcella: That’s a whole another podcast story, believe me. So really, I had two entry points into direct response copywriting and it’s kind of come back around full circle which is very funny. So when I graduated from college in 1987, there were no jobs for love nor money as my mother would say because we’re right in the middle of the recession and I had an English degree which was even harder to find a job. Since then, we’ve kind of come around to the idea that we’re sort of these nice, well-rounded humanitarian people. But back then nobody knew what do with an English degree.

So my first job was actually running a book club that was called The Graphic Artists Book Club for F&W Publications in Cincinnati back in 1987 and I wrote the little blurbs, these were book clubs where you got a little bulletin each month and it would tell you about the books and you would get a book auto-shipped to you every month. Even though it was called The Graphic Artists Book Club like we had maybe one or two books on doing graphic design on your computer, this was before any of these programs existed.

So I did that for maybe a year and a half and then I left direct response and I didn’t come back until 15 years later. I ended up writing copy for option traders at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. That’s sort of the start of my second career. So that was about 2003. The funny thing is that right now, I work on retainer on the financial side with the Money Map which is run by a man named Mike Ward who worked with me at F&W Publications in 1987. He was the book editor.

Rob: Wow.

Marcella: So it always comes all the way around, right, which I think is pretty funny.

Rob: Yeah, never burn a bridge. You never know.

Marcella: That’s right. But the way I got back into it was that in between time, I had done a lot of stuff. I had run a contemporary art gallery. I had gone back and gotten my MBA. I had worked as a venture capitalist. I had worked for a nonprofit. At one point, I had a friend of mine who was marketing consultant with Schaeffer’s Investment Research and he was desperately trying to find someone who understood options, sort of the math of that and the left brain side of that. Again, this was 2003 so options hadn’t really become as mainstream as they are right now. Really, Schaeffer’s was one of the only games in town in terms of newsletters that offered a substantial amount of options services.

This friend of mine was working with them and he could not find a copywriter who could understand options and translate it into copy in a way that made sense to people. So he needed someone who really could do both left brain and right brain and I think that is one of my sort of super powers is that I tend to be good at translating complicated information into something that people can understand and so that kind of became the launching of my second career in copywriting and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Rob: Marcella, would you say, maybe I already know the answer to this question, but would you say that all of those things that you did leading up to copywriting made you a better copywriter or was it just sort of a journey through all kinds of options till you found the right thing for you?

Marcella: No, I think I was really using the same skillset. I talk a lot about how … So the venture capital firm that I worked for did early stage medical investing so I would literally be sitting down with say a scientist who might even still be in the lab at a university because we were going to be the first venture capital investment and pull that idea, right, out of the university and set it up as its own company. So I was a financial analyst. I’d be sitting there with him saying, “Okay, so explain to me how this cancer therapy works. What are all the steps,” and then I’d say, “Well, what do you do next?” He might say something like, “Oh, I go put it in a centrifuge.” “Okay, well, we’re going to need to buy one of those because you won’t be able to run over to the university and use theirs, right?”

So like I would help him understand how this thing that he was doing turned into numbers on a page that turned into a business that could then be evaluated. So when I’m working say with option traders, I’m sitting down and I’m asking them to explain to me say a very technical model of how they find a trade, right, “Well, how do you know this is going to go up? What are you looking at?” Then I’m trying to take that and turn it into something that I can translate that other people can understand and buy into. So I think that ability to sort of sit down one on one with people and understand what they’re doing, especially in finance, right, it might be this option trading model. On the health side, it might be having a deeper understanding of how inflammation works in the body and all the steps of that and how do I make that understandable to someone in such a way that they can grasp the advantage of the solution that I’m offering.

Kira: Is that a skill that we can all learn as copywriters? Or some people are just more gifted with that ability to connect and translate information or is it something that we can all learn over time?

Marcella: That’s an interesting question. When I was in my MBA program, we did this funny exercise, I’ve never been able to find it since, where you answer like 70 questions to say how left or right brained you are and then it actually turned into coordinates and we had this white painter caps and markers and we drew our brains on them and could see the people who were so left brained, it looked like an arrow, right. It was so narrow, it was like all left, right? Mine was this big square on the top of my hat. I was literally almost 50% left brained and 50% right brained. So I was like, “Oh well, that makes sense,” right, that I find a career like that.

But the people who are at the extremes, right, like an incredibly talented artist, right, or a quant jock in the trading world, most people are going to fall closer to the middle, like everybody has right brain and left brain skills and you probably already know which way you skew, right? So you just have to recognize that you might need to build the other side, whether it’s taking a drawing class or music lessons or like the people I know who are really good at this tend to be really well-rounded and fascinated by lots of things. David Deutsch is a musician and he loves to dance and we read fiction and he also writes copy, right? Parris plays the guitar and he’s had the apprentices a couple, maybe a year ago, he told me they were doing drawing on the right side of the brain which is a drawing book to connect to that part of your brain that observes and notices things.

So I think anyone can get better at it and I do think that as a copywriter especially in an area that’s heavy information driven like health and finance, right, to the highest paying, right, you really have to have that flexibility. So I think you just have to know which way you tend and build up the other side a little bit maybe.

Rob: Marcella, after you got that first project, writing about options, options trading, how did that then turn into a career as a writer? How did you get the next project or how did your career develop from there?

Marcella: Yeah, so a couple of things happened kind of simultaneously. So I had no idea, right, back then we didn’t have courses in schools and gurus really. That had just barely began, right? AWAI had just started out, American Writers & Artists, Inc. so AWAI Online. Okay, so they had just started out with their sort of here’s how to write direct response copy programs and courses. I didn’t know about them. But in the beginning when they were marketing because they were co-owned with some folks who had connections to Agora to the financial newsletter world, right, they had been sending their promotion to some of the financial lists and lo and behold, it had been doing well because I think a lot of people think of this as a second career and it’s kind of interesting. If you’re a financial person, writing for financial newsletters would be curious to you.

So I’m at Schaeffer’s Investment Research one day, I’ve been hounding my boss saying, “Surely there is some sort of system for doing this.” Like I’m just making this up, right, as I go along. I’m like, “Surely there’s some books, there’s something that would help me here, right?” He comes in, Kevin Addington is his name. He’s actually now with St. Jude Cancer Research. He’s funny as heck. He comes in, he’s like, “Hey, Marcella, is this what you’ve been talking about?” And he hands me a promotion that AWAI had sent to Schaeffer’s asking for permission to rent our list and it’s about this bootcamp they’re having and all these courses they’re going to have and all these speakers and I’m like, “Well, for the love of … Yes, that’s what I needed.” I’m like, “You’re sending me. Put this in the budget.”

It turned out that that was a intensive little bootcamp with Boardroom which is now Bottomline. Bernie Schaeffer had always admired Boardroom and they had Bottomline Personal, Bottomline Health. They have more personal finance, right, they didn’t have any option trading programs. So it wasn’t like a competitor and he’s always admired them and he said, “Yeah, I would be willing to send you.” So I go to this conference and David Deutsch is speaking there and along with a lot other people, Laurie Haller, Monica Day, all these folks that I’ve working with for a long time.

So David is talking the writing and Laurie is talking about the design and Brian Kurtz is there. I get to know everybody there. What happens is while we’re there, we’re told we have to write sort of a headline, headline and lead for a new book. I think it was their annual, their health annual. So I’m like, “All right. I’m game, right, I’ll try that. They’re kind of showing us how to do it and I’m practicing and then at the end, on the very last day, Marty came in, Marty Edelston, the founder of Boardroom. We all put them up on a presentation and Marty made comments on them. He pointed to different ones and said what he thought about it.

So they put mine up and Brian said, “Oh, this is really good. You know and Marty really liked it,” and Marty says to Brian, “Who wrote it?” Before Brian can answer, Marty says, “A man or a woman?” I’m looking at this headline and there’s like nothing in the headline, right? The headline was something like, “Did your doctor read 4,826 studies this week? If not, he might have missed the one that could have saved your life.” It was about how no doctor has time to keep up with this but if you get this annual, right, you can go through and find those stuff up, okay. So Brian Kurtz says to Marty, “Well, it was Marcella.” Marty says in this great sort of low voice that he had after the stroke, this low grumbling voice, “I think that deserves a kiss.”

Rob: Now, what would he have said if a guy had written it.

Marcella: I have no idea. But Brian is looking at me like, “Mayday, mayday, right, what am I going to do?” I said, “Of course it does, right.” Marty is like 80 at this point, right, and I ran over and I get to give Marty this kiss. So when Marty passed away, I wrote a note to Brian and to Marty’s family and I said, “You know, I like to think that that was the kiss that turned me from a frog into a copywriting princess,” because Marty’s kiss began this crazy chain of events where a year later Parris Lampropoulos calls Michelle Woke at Boardroom and says, “Hey, I want to train a group of apprentices. I want to grow my agency. Do you know of anybody?”

Michelle says, “Funny you should ask. We did this thing with AWAI. We had a bunch of people do headlines and leads there. I can send you this woman who’s lead Marty picked,” then Parris gets my information from Kathy at AWAI and literally called calls me in the middle of the day at Schaffer’s to say, “Would you like to come and be my apprentice?” At the same time, David Deutsch and I have met at that conference, had formed a friendship and I had said to him, “Would you be willing to coach and train me?” He said, “I don’t usually do that.” But I said, “Well, what can I do for you? Right, what can I do for you?” He said, “Well, I’m writing copy for the Weiland Sisters for this woman’s book. If you could review it and tell me as a woman, have I … What did he say, he said, “Have I offended the broads?” Which cracked me up.

So I did, I reviewed it and he said, in all seriousness and I adore David, he said, “You know, your copy is so terrible. This point, I don’t know how to help you but you’ve got amazing instincts because I find your critiques really helpful.” So we just started swapping. I would critique something for him and then he would give me another lesson or tell me a book to read or help me try to get to the next step. It was pretty funny. So it all kind of came together, like all in this one moment in time. It was very serendipitous and I’m very grateful, right, for all of the pieces that made that come together.

Rob: That sounds so much like our relationship, Kira. My copy’s bad, I tell you what to read. You tell me how to improve my copy.

Kira: Yeah, good to have those people. It’s good to have your copy.

Marcella: Oh God.

Kira: I had like that idea with the kiss and how that transformed your career. I think it really speaks to what you did there, the power of showing up, going to conferences. What we were speaking about before we started recording, showing up at the right places with the right people and how that can really change everything. I think that’s a perfect segway into mentorship. I had wanted to ask you why mentors are so critical in the copywriting space?

Marcella: There are more and more courses now, right, and you definitely learn from courses and books and online communities and I participate in all of those. But I think what happens in a mentoring relationship is you have that one on one hands on teaching and you’re actually going through a real project together step by step. There is something magical that happens in that. It’s why medical students, right, don’t just learn on books then they actually have to go through a residency where they’re standing side by side with someone else who’s showing them how to do it and teaching them how to do the thing they’re trying to learn to do.

I think it is better now, right. Like when I first started out, if you didn’t have a mentor, you had some old books. You had maybe one or two courses and that was it, right? But now, you have a lot more materials to choose from but I still feel like that intensive learning and training one on one with a mentor is so important, just so important.

Rob: This is a hard question to answer maybe but can you point to two or three things that you learned specifically from a mentor like Parris or David that just really moved your career forward exponentially?

Marcella: I’ve had a lot of mentors in my life. I’ve had David Deutsch, Parris Lampropoulos. I’m working with Mike Ward again right now. Mark Ford, Clayton Makepeace, each one of them taught me something unique and different. I guess I’m going to turn it around a little bit and if this isn’t helpful for your audience, you let me know. But when I was thinking about your questions that you’d kind of sent me before the call, one of the things you said to me is, “You know, how does this work?” I was thinking about that each mentor offer something different, not just in he information they give you but in the style of how they do things.

Some of the thing things I learned from them had to do with the style of their teaching. So for example, Parris, more than anyone I know, he has studied what works. He hasn’t just studied it. He has broken it down into systems, patterns, formulas, rules, right, which the left brain part of me adores because then if I’m having trouble starting something, he gave me a structure, like rules like I wasn’t looking at a blank page anymore, I was like, “Oh, if I need to start a sidebar, I go to my lesson on how to start a sidebar. If I need to write bullets, I go to my lessons on how to write bullets. If I …” do you know what I mean? If I’m doing a close, I know these are the six things I have to do. So Parris gave me a real structure and as the part of that is left brained loved that because then I had a process and I love having a process because then it wasn’t vague, right?

What David gave me were these gifts of humor and playfulness. So David was a standup comedian. David is far more right brained, like in terms of just sort of creatively riffing on things. Now, that made it very hard sometimes for him to communicate with me about what needed fixed in something and he’s changed and evolved over the last 10 years that we’ve been working together to just be this amazing teacher now, right? But in the beginning, he was learning how to be a mentor in some ways and I was learning how to work with him. He didn’t have this really left brained structured way. He used to tease me, “Is that Parris rule 486?” We would crack up and laugh. He was much more about humor and playfulness so he taught me that one way to be an entertaining in copy was simple things like a double entendre or playfulness in my headlines or alliteration with words or just a little bit of humor, not like telling a one-liner but you know what I mean?

That was a gift, right. So each person brought something new to the equation that allowed me to become a richer and better copywriter because now I had not just one or two tools in my toolkit, I had dozens of them, if that makes sense.

Rob: Yeah, it does make sense. I want to ask a follow up question to that. How does a new copywriter who may not be able to afford exposure to someone like Clayton Makepeace or get on the radar of Parris, how do you find the right mentor? How do you connect with somebody who actually knows what they’re doing and they’re not just a charlatan selling a course trying to make a buck?

Marcella: Yes, I think that is a huge issue. So I say to my writers and this is a funny story, so I say to them, “You have to do your due diligence. You must qualify your mentor first. You have to do your homework. Yes, it’s flattering that they are asking you but you should do the same thing.” I did this on Parris. I think it surprised the heck out of him, right? Because the irony is that I didn’t know who he was. I was working for an obscured little option trading firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. I didn’t even know this world of these guys existed. I knew about David, right, because I’d met him at this Boardroom thing but I didn’t know about Parris nor did I know because no one told me, right, that Parris had called Michelle Woke and Michelle Woke had called Kathy and there’s this whole connection, right.

So I just get this call in the middle of the day from this guy named Parris Lampropoulos and Parris assumes that I know who he is but I don’t know who he is and he starts asking me questions that would be considered illegal if you were applying for a job because what he wants to know is that I will understand the health audience because I was, at that time, I was just 40, right, so he wants to know, “Have I had any chronic incurable conditions and what did I do to try to solve that?” He’s trying to figure out have I tried alternative, have I tried mainstream medicine, do I know what it’s like to be in pain, do I know what it’s like to be frustrated and not have a cure for something, right?

I am like, “Who are you? Any why are you asking me these questions?” Oh, he wants to know how old I am of course because he wants to know do I have arthritis. Anyway, it was pretty darn funny. At the end of that call, he tells me what he’s doing in this apprenticeship and I’m like, “Could you give me a few references that I could call? Find out like who you are and what you

Kira: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Rob and I do every week at the Copywriter Club Podcast.

Rob: You’re invited to join the club for episode 48 as we chat with freelance copywriter Marcella Allison about how she became a copywriter working with A list mentors like Parris Lampropoulos and David Deutsch and her secret for landing a steady stream of clients without a website.

Kira: Marcella, welcome.

Marcella: Hi, guys. I’m going to be notorious for that now. Like everyone’s going to be like, “I can’t believe she doesn’t have her own website.” You guys are going [inaudible 00:00:53].

Rob: You’re actually not our first guest that didn’t have a website.

Marcella: Oh good.

Rob: At least until they got on the podcast. Ry Schwartz is a copywriter in the internet space, didn’t have a website last year when we talked to him. He does now finally so maybe this will be the spark that gets you a website, Marcella.

Kira: Or maybe you just don’t need it because you’re that good.

Marcella: I don’t know about that.

Kira: Marcella, I think a good place to start is we had met at our titans masterclass, Brian Kurtz’s group and you were my advocate during the hot seat session and I think you were the best. I forget if we called it an advocate. Basically, you were representing my needs and you were the best one there. So I oh you big time and I’m excited to dig more into how you got into copywriting and hear more about your experiences so far. So I think a good place to start is with just your story. How did you end getting into copywriting?

Marcella: Well, one thing, I have to I’ve a big shout out to Brian Kurtz because I have to say the reason I was a good advocate was I had trial by fire at his titans event being an advocate for 30 people that day.

Kira: That makes sense.

Marcella: I did have a bit of practice. I did have a bit of practice.

Kira: I did not know that. That makes sense.

Marcella: That’s a whole another podcast story, believe me. So really, I had two entry points into direct response copywriting and it’s kind of come back around full circle which is very funny. So when I graduated from college in 1987, there were no jobs for love nor money as my mother would say because we’re right in the middle of the recession and I had an English degree which was even harder to find a job. Since then, we’ve kind of come around to the idea that we’re sort of these nice, well-rounded humanitarian people. But back then nobody knew what do with an English degree.

So my first job was actually running a book club that was called The Graphic Artists Book Club for F&W Publications in Cincinnati back in 1987 and I wrote the little blurbs, these were book clubs where you got a little bulletin each month and it would tell you about the books and you would get a book auto-shipped to you every month. Even though it was called The Graphic Artists Book Club like we had maybe one or two books on doing graphic design on your computer, this was before any of these programs existed.

So I did that for maybe a year and a half and then I left direct response and I didn’t come back until 15 years later. I ended up writing copy for option traders at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. That’s sort of the start of my second career. So that was about 2003. The funny thing is that right now, I work on retainer on the financial side with the Money Map which is run by a man named Mike Ward who worked with me at F&W Publications in 1987. He was the book editor.

Rob: Wow.

Marcella: So it always comes all the way around, right, which I think is pretty funny.

Rob: Yeah, never burn a bridge. You never know.

Marcella: That’s right. But the way I got back into it was that in between time, I had done a lot of stuff. I had run a contemporary art gallery. I had gone back and gotten my MBA. I had worked as a venture capitalist. I had worked for a nonprofit. At one point, I had a friend of mine who was marketing consultant with Schaeffer’s Investment Research and he was desperately trying to find someone who understood options, sort of the math of that and the left brain side of that. Again, this was 2003 so options hadn’t really become as mainstream as they are right now. Really, Schaeffer’s was one of the only games in town in terms of newsletters that offered a substantial amount of options services.

This friend of mine was working with them and he could not find a copywriter who could understand options and translate it into copy in a way that made sense to people. So he needed someone who really could do both left brain and right brain and I think that is one of my sort of super powers is that I tend to be good at translating complicated information into something that people can understand and so that kind of became the launching of my second career in copywriting and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Rob: Marcella, would you say, maybe I already know the answer to this question, but would you say that all of those things that you did leading up to copywriting made you a better copywriter or was it just sort of a journey through all kinds of options till you found the right thing for you?

Marcella: No, I think I was really using the same skillset. I talk a lot about how … So the venture capital firm that I worked for did early stage medical investing so I would literally be sitting down with say a scientist who might even still be in the lab at a university because we were going to be the first venture capital investment and pull that idea, right, out of the university and set it up as its own company. So I was a financial analyst. I’d be sitting there with him saying, “Okay, so explain to me how this cancer therapy works. What are all the steps,” and then I’d say, “Well, what do you do next?” He might say something like, “Oh, I go put it in a centrifuge.” “Okay, well, we’re going to need to buy one of those because you won’t be able to run over to the university and use theirs, right?”

So like I would help him understand how this thing that he was doing turned into numbers on a page that turned into a business that could then be evaluated. So when I’m working say with option traders, I’m sitting down and I’m asking them to explain to me say a very technical model of how they find a trade, right, “Well, how do you know this is going to go up? What are you looking at?” Then I’m trying to take that and turn it into something that I can translate that other people can understand and buy into. So I think that ability to sort of sit down one on one with people and understand what they’re doing, especially in finance, right, it might be this option trading model. On the health side, it might be having a deeper understanding of how inflammation works in the body and all the steps of that and how do I make that understandable to someone in such a way that they can grasp the advantage of the solution that I’m offering.

Kira: Is that a skill that we can all learn as copywriters? Or some people are just more gifted with that ability to connect and translate information or is it something that we can all learn over time?

Marcella: That’s an interesting question. When I was in my MBA program, we did this funny exercise, I’ve never been able to find it since, where you answer like 70 questions to say how left or right brained you are and then it actually turned into coordinates and we had this white painter caps and markers and we drew our brains on them and could see the people who were so left brained, it looked like an arrow, right. It was so narrow, it was like all left, right? Mine was this big square on the top of my hat. I was literally almost 50% left brained and 50% right brained. So I was like, “Oh well, that makes sense,” right, that I find a career like that.

But the people who are at the extremes, right, like an incredibly talented artist, right, or a quant jock in the trading world, most people are going to fall closer to the middle, like everybody has right brain and left brain skills and you probably already know which way you skew, right? So you just have to recognize that you might need to build the other side, whether it’s taking a drawing class or music lessons or like the people I know who are really good at this tend to be really well-rounded and fascinated by lots of things. David Deutsch is a musician and he loves to dance and we read fiction and he also writes copy, right? Parris plays the guitar and he’s had the apprentices a couple, maybe a year ago, he told me they were doing drawing on the right side of the brain which is a drawing book to connect to that part of your brain that observes and notices things.

So I think anyone can get better at it and I do think that as a copywriter especially in an area that’s heavy information driven like health and finance, right, to the highest paying, right, you really have to have that flexibility. So I think you just have to know which way you tend and build up the other side a little bit maybe.

Rob: Marcella, after you got that first project, writing about options, options trading, how did that then turn into a career as a writer? How did you get the next project or how did your career develop from there?

Marcella: Yeah, so a couple of things happened kind of simultaneously. So I had no idea, right, back then we didn’t have courses in schools and gurus really. That had just barely began, right? AWAI had just started out, American Writers & Artists, Inc. so AWAI Online. Okay, so they had just started out with their sort of here’s how to write direct response copy programs and courses. I didn’t know about them. But in the beginning when they were marketing because they were co-owned with some folks who had connections to Agora to the financial newsletter world, right, they had been sending their promotion to some of the financial lists and lo and behold, it had been doing well because I think a lot of people think of this as a second career and it’s kind of interesting. If you’re a financial person, writing for financial newsletters would be curious to you.

So I’m at Schaeffer’s Investment Research one day, I’ve been hounding my boss saying, “Surely there is some sort of system for doing this.” Like I’m just making this up, right, as I go along. I’m like, “Surely there’s some books, there’s something that would help me here, right?” He comes in, Kevin Addington is his name. He’s actually now with St. Jude Cancer Research. He’s funny as heck. He comes in, he’s like, “Hey, Marcella, is this what you’ve been talking about?” And he hands me a promotion that AWAI had sent to Schaeffer’s asking for permission to rent our list and it’s about this bootcamp they’re having and all these courses they’re going to have and all these speakers and I’m like, “Well, for the love of … Yes, that’s what I needed.” I’m like, “You’re sending me. Put this in the budget.”

It turned out that that was a intensive little bootcamp with Boardroom which is now Bottomline. Bernie Schaeffer had always admired Boardroom and they had Bottomline Personal, Bottomline Health. They have more personal finance, right, they didn’t have any option trading programs. So it wasn’t like a competitor and he’s always admired them and he said, “Yeah, I would be willing to send you.” So I go to this conference and David Deutsch is speaking there and along with a lot other people, Laurie Haller, Monica Day, all these folks that I’ve working with for a long time.

So David is talking the writing and Laurie is talking about the design and Brian Kurtz is there. I get to know everybody there. What happens is while we’re there, we’re told we have to write sort of a headline, headline and lead for a new book. I think it was their annual, their health annual. So I’m like, “All right. I’m game, right, I’ll try that. They’re kind of showing us how to do it and I’m practicing and then at the end, on the very last day, Marty came in, Marty Edelston, the founder of Boardroom. We all put them up on a presentation and Marty made comments on them. He pointed to different ones and said what he thought about it.

So they put mine up and Brian said, “Oh, this is really good. You know and Marty really liked it,” and Marty says to Brian, “Who wrote it?” Before Brian can answer, Marty says, “A man or a woman?” I’m looking at this headline and there’s like nothing in the headline, right? The headline was something like, “Did your doctor read 4,826 studies this week? If not, he might have missed the one that could have saved your life.” It was about how no doctor has time to keep up with this but if you get this annual, right, you can go through and find those stuff up, okay. So Brian Kurtz says to Marty, “Well, it was Marcella.” Marty says in this great sort of low voice that he had after the stroke, this low grumbling voice, “I think that deserves a kiss.”

Rob: Now, what would he have said if a guy had written it.

Marcella: I have no idea. But Brian is looking at me like, “Mayday, mayday, right, what am I going to do?” I said, “Of course it does, right.” Marty is like 80 at this point, right, and I ran over and I get to give Marty this kiss. So when Marty passed away, I wrote a note to Brian and to Marty’s family and I said, “You know, I like to think that that was the kiss that turned me from a frog into a copywriting princess,” because Marty’s kiss began this crazy chain of events where a year later Parris Lampropoulos calls Michelle Woke at Boardroom and says, “Hey, I want to train a group of apprentices. I want to grow my agency. Do you know of anybody?”

Michelle says, “Funny you should ask. We did this thing with AWAI. We had a bunch of people do headlines and leads there. I can send you this woman who’s lead Marty picked,” then Parris gets my information from Kathy at AWAI and literally called calls me in the middle of the day at Schaffer’s to say, “Would you like to come and be my apprentice?” At the same time, David Deutsch and I have met at that conference, had formed a friendship and I had said to him, “Would you be willing to coach and train me?” He said, “I don’t usually do that.” But I said, “Well, what can I do for you? Right, what can I do for you?” He said, “Well, I’m writing copy for the Weiland Sisters for this woman’s book. If you could review it and tell me as a woman, have I … What did he say, he said, “Have I offended the broads?” Which cracked me up.

So I did, I reviewed it and he said, in all seriousness and I adore David, he said, “You know, your copy is so terrible. This point, I don’t know how to help you but you’ve got amazing instincts because I find your critiques really helpful.” So we just started swapping. I would critique something for him and then he would give me another lesson or tell me a book to read or help me try to get to the next step. It was pretty funny. So it all kind of came together, like all in this one moment in time. It was very serendipitous and I’m very grateful, right, for all of the pieces that made that come together.

Rob: That sounds so much like our relationship, Kira. My copy’s bad, I tell you what to read. You tell me how to improve my copy.

Kira: Yeah, good to have those people. It’s good to have your copy.

Marcella: Oh God.

Kira: I had like that idea with the kiss and how that transformed your career. I think it really speaks to what you did there, the power of showing up, going to conferences. What we were speaking about before we started recording, showing up at the right places with the right people and how that can really change everything. I think that’s a perfect segway into mentorship. I had wanted to ask you why mentors are so critical in the copywriting space?

Marcella: There are more and more courses now, right, and you definitely learn from courses and books and online communities and I participate in all of those. But I think what happens in a mentoring relationship is you have that one on one hands on teaching and you’re actually going through a real project together step by step. There is something magical that happens in that. It’s why medical students, right, don’t just learn on books then they actually have to go through a residency where they’re standing side by side with someone else who’s showing them how to do it and teaching them how to do the thing they’re trying to learn to do.

I think it is better now, right. Like when I first started out, if you didn’t have a mentor, you had some old books. You had maybe one or two courses and that was it, right? But now, you have a lot more materials to choose from but I still feel like that intensive learning and training one on one with a mentor is so important, just so important.

Rob: This is a hard question to answer maybe but can you point to two or three things that you learned specifically from a mentor like Parris or David that just really moved your career forward exponentially?

Marcella: I’ve had a lot of mentors in my life. I’ve had David Deutsch, Parris Lampropoulos. I’m working with Mike Ward again right now. Mark Ford, Clayton Makepeace, each one of them taught me something unique and different. I guess I’m going to turn it around a little bit and if this isn’t helpful for your audience, you let me know. But when I was thinking about your questions that you’d kind of sent me before the call, one of the things you said to me is, “You know, how does this work?” I was thinking about that each mentor offer something different, not just in he information they give you but in the style of how they do things.

Some of the thing things I learned from them had to do with the style of their teaching. So for example, Parris, more than anyone I know, he has studied what works. He hasn’t just studied it. He has broken it down into systems, patterns, formulas, rules, right, which the left brain part of me adores because then if I’m having trouble starting something, he gave me a structure, like rules like I wasn’t looking at a blank page anymore, I was like, “Oh, if I need to start a sidebar, I go to my lesson on how to start a sidebar. If I need to write bullets, I go to my lessons on how to write bullets. If I …” do you know what I mean? If I’m doing a close, I know these are the six things I have to do. So Parris gave me a real structure and as the part of that is left brained loved that because then I had a process and I love having a process because then it wasn’t vague, right?

What David gave me were these gifts of humor and playfulness. So David was a standup comedian. David is far more right brained, like in terms of just sort of creatively riffing on things. Now, that made it very hard sometimes for him to communicate with me about what needed fixed in something and he’s changed and evolved over the last 10 years that we’ve been working together to just be this amazing teacher now, right? But in the beginning, he was learning how to be a mentor in some ways and I was learning how to work with him. He didn’t have this really left brained structured way. He used to tease me, “Is that Parris rule 486?” We would crack up and laugh. He was much more about humor and playfulness so he taught me that one way to be an entertaining in copy was simple things like a double entendre or playfulness in my headlines or alliteration with words or just a little bit of humor, not like telling a one-liner but you know what I mean?

That was a gift, right. So each person brought something new to the equation that allowed me to become a richer and better copywriter because now I had not just one or two tools in my toolkit, I had dozens of them, if that makes sense.

Rob: Yeah, it does make sense. I want to ask a follow up question to that. How does a new copywriter who may not be able to afford exposure to someone like Clayton Makepeace or get on the radar of Parris, how do you find the right mentor? How do you connect with somebody who actually knows what they’re doing and they’re not just a charlatan selling a course trying to make a buck?

Marcella: Yes, I think that is a huge issue. So I say to my writers and this is a funny story, so I say to them, “You have to do your due diligence. You must qualify your mentor first. You have to do your homework. Yes, it’s flattering that they are asking you but you should do the same thing.” I did this on Parris. I think it surprised the heck out of him, right? Because the irony is that I didn’t know who he was. I was working for an obscured little option trading firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. I didn’t even know this world of these guys existed. I knew about David, right, because I’d met him at this Boardroom thing but I didn’t know about Parris nor did I know because no one told me, right, that Parris had called Michelle Woke and Michelle Woke had called Kathy and there’s this whole connection, right.

So I just get this call in the middle of the day from this guy named Parris Lampropoulos and Parris assumes that I know who he is but I don’t know who he is and he starts asking me questions that would be considered illegal if you were applying for a job because what he wants to know is that I will understand the health audience because I was, at that time, I was just 40, right, so he wants to know, “Have I had any chronic incurable conditions and what did I do to try to solve that?” He’s trying to figure out have I tried alternative, have I tried mainstream medicine, do I know what it’s like to be in pain, do I know what it’s like to be frustrated and not have a cure for something, right?

I am like, “Who are you? Any why are you asking me these questions?” Oh, he wants to know how old I am of course because he wants to know do I have arthritis. Anyway, it was pretty darn funny. At the end of that call, he tells me what he’s doing in this apprenticeship and I’m like, “Could you give me a few references that I could call? Find out like who you are and what you

Kira: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Rob and I do every week at the Copywriter Club Podcast.

Rob: You’re invited to join the club for episode 48 as we chat with freelance copywriter Marcella Allison about how she became a copywriter working with A list mentors like Parris Lampropoulos and David Deutsch and her secret for landing a steady stream of clients without a website.

Kira: Marcella, welcome.

Marcella: Hi, guys. I’m going to be notorious for that now. Like everyone’s going to be like, “I can’t believe she doesn’t have her own website.” You guys are going [inaudible 00:00:53].

Rob: You’re actually not our first guest that didn’t have a website.

Marcella: Oh good.

Rob: At least until they got on the podcast. Ry Schwartz is a copywriter in the internet space, didn’t have a website last year when we talked to him. He does now finally so maybe this will be the spark that gets you a website, Marcella.

Kira: Or maybe you just don’t need it because you’re that good.

Marcella: I don’t know about that.

Kira: Marcella, I think a good place to start is we had met at our titans masterclass, Brian Kurtz’s group and you were my advocate during the hot seat session and I think you were the best. I forget if we called it an advocate. Basically, you were representing my needs and you were the best one there. So I oh you big time and I’m excited to dig more into how you got into copywriting and hear more about your experiences so far. So I think a good place to start is with just your story. How did you end getting into copywriting?

Marcella: Well, one thing, I have to I’ve a big shout out to Brian Kurtz because I have to say the reason I was a good advocate was I had trial by fire at his titans event being an advocate for 30 people that day.

Kira: That makes sense.

Marcella: I did have a bit of practice. I did have a bit of practice.

Kira: I did not know that. That makes sense.

Marcella: That’s a whole another podcast story, believe me. So really, I had two entry points into direct response copywriting and it’s kind of come back around full circle which is very funny. So when I graduated from college in 1987, there were no jobs for love nor money as my mother would say because we’re right in the middle of the recession and I had an English degree which was even harder to find a job. Since then, we’ve kind of come around to the idea that we’re sort of these nice, well-rounded humanitarian people. But back then nobody knew what do with an English degree.

So my first job was actually running a book club that was called The Graphic Artists Book Club for F&W Publications in Cincinnati back in 1987 and I wrote the little blurbs, these were book clubs where you got a little bulletin each month and it would tell you about the books and you would get a book auto-shipped to you every month. Even though it was called The Graphic Artists Book Club like we had maybe one or two books on doing graphic design on your computer, this was before any of these programs existed.

So I did that for maybe a year and a half and then I left direct response and I didn’t come back until 15 years later. I ended up writing copy for option traders at Schaeffer’s Investment Research. That’s sort of the start of my second career. So that was about 2003. The funny thing is that right now, I work on retainer on the financial side with the Money Map which is run by a man named Mike Ward who worked with me at F&W Publications in 1987. He was the book editor.

Rob: Wow.

Marcella: So it always comes all the way around, right, which I think is pretty funny.

Rob: Yeah, never burn a bridge. You never know.

Marcella: That’s right. But the way I got back into it was that in between time, I had done a lot of stuff. I had run a contemporary art gallery. I had gone back and gotten my MBA. I had worked as a venture capitalist. I had worked for a nonprofit. At one point, I had a friend of mine who was marketing consultant with Schaeffer’s Investment Research and he was desperately trying to find someone who understood options, sort of the math of that and the left brain side of that. Again, this was 2003 so options hadn’t really become as mainstream as they are right now. Really, Schaeffer’s was one of the only games in town in terms of newsletters that offered a substantial amount of options services.

This friend of mine was working with them and he could not find a copywriter who could understand options and translate it into copy in a way that made sense to people. So he needed someone who really could do both left brain and right brain and I think that is one of my sort of super powers is that I tend to be good at translating complicated information into something that people can understand and so that kind of became the launching of my second career in copywriting and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Rob: Marcella, would you say, maybe I already know the answer to this question, but would you say that all of those things that you did leading up to copywriting made you a better copywriter or was it just sort of a journey through all kinds of options till you found the right thing for you?

Marcella: No, I think I was really using the same skillset. I talk a lot about how … So the venture capital firm that I worked for did early stage medical investing so I would literally be sitting down with say a scientist who might even still be in the lab at a university because we were going to be the first venture capital investment and pull that idea, right, out of the university and set it up as its own company. So I was a financial analyst. I’d be sitting there with him saying, “Okay, so explain to me how this cancer therapy works. What are all the steps,” and then I’d say, “Well, what do you do next?” He might say something like, “Oh, I go put it in a centrifuge.” “Okay, well, we’re going to need to buy one of those because you won’t be able to run over to the university and use theirs, right?”

So like I would help him understand how this thing that he was doing turned into numbers on a page that turned into a business that could then be evaluated. So when I’m working say with option traders, I’m sitting down and I’m asking them to explain to me say a very technical model of how they find a trade, right, “Well, how do you know this is going to go up? What are you looking at?” Then I’m trying to take that and turn it into something that I can translate that other people can understand and buy into. So I think that ability to sort of sit down one on one with people and understand what they’re doing, especially in finance, right, it might be this option trading model. On the health side, it might be having a deeper understanding of how inflammation works in the body and all the steps of that and how do I make that understandable to someone in such a way that they can grasp the advantage of the solution that I’m offering.

Kira: Is that a skill that we can all learn as copywriters? Or some people are just more gifted with that ability to connect and translate information or is it something that we can all learn over time?

Marcella: That’s an interesting question. When I was in my MBA program, we did this funny exercise, I’ve never been able to find it since, where you answer like 70 questions to say how left or right brained you are and then it actually turned into coordinates and we had this white painter caps and markers and we drew our brains on them and could see the people who were so left brained, it looked like an arrow, right. It was so narrow, it was like all left, right? Mine was this big square on the top of my hat. I was literally almost 50% left brained and 50% right brained. So I was like, “Oh well, that makes sense,” right, that I find a career like that.

But the people who are at the extremes, right, like an incredibly talented artist, right, or a quant jock in the trading world, most people are going to fall closer to the middle, like everybody has right brain and left brain skills and you probably already know which way you skew, right? So you just have to recognize that you might need to build the other side, whether it’s taking a drawing class or music lessons or like the people I know who are really good at this tend to be really well-rounded and fascinated by lots of things. David Deutsch is a musician and he loves to dance and we read fiction and he also writes copy, right? Parris plays the guitar and he’s had the apprentices a couple, maybe a year ago, he told me they were doing drawing on the right side of the brain which is a drawing book to connect to that part of your brain that observes and notices things.

So I think anyone can get better at it and I do think that as a copywriter especially in an area that’s heavy information driven like health and finance, right, to the highest paying, right, you really have to have that flexibility. So I think you just have to know which way you tend and build up the other side a little bit maybe.

Rob: Marcella, after you got that first project, writing about options, options trading, how did that then turn into a career as a writer? How did you get the next project or how did your career develop from there?

Marcella: Yeah, so a couple of things happened kind of simultaneously. So I had no idea, right, back then we didn’t have courses in schools and gurus really. That had just barely began, right? AWAI had just started out, American Writers & Artists, Inc. so AWAI Online. Okay, so they had just started out with their sort of here’s how to write direct response copy programs and courses. I didn’t know about them. But in the beginning when they were marketing because they were co-owned with some folks who had connections to Agora to the financial newsletter world, right, they had been sending their promotion to some of the financial lists and lo and behold, it had been doing well because I think a lot of people think of this as a second career and it’s kind of interesting. If you’re a financial person, writing for financial newsletters would be curious to you.

So I’m at Schaeffer’s Investment Research one day, I’ve been hounding my boss saying, “Surely there is some sort of system for doing this.” Like I’m just making this up, right, as I go along. I’m like, “Surely there’s some books, there’s something that would help me here, right?” He comes in, Kevin Addington is his name. He’s actually now with St. Jude Cancer Research. He’s funny as heck. He comes in, he’s like, “Hey, Marcella, is this what you’ve been talking about?” And he hands me a promotion that AWAI had sent to Schaeffer’s asking for permission to rent our list and it’s about this bootcamp they’re having and all these courses they’re going to have and all these speakers and I’m like, “Well, for the love of … Yes, that’s what I needed.” I’m like, “You’re sending me. Put this in the budget.”

It turned out that that was a intensive little bootcamp with Boardroom which is now Bottomline. Bernie Schaeffer had always admired Boardroom and they had Bottomline Personal, Bottomline Health. They have more personal finance, right, they didn’t have any option trading programs. So it wasn’t like a competitor and he’s always admired them and he said, “Yeah, I would be willing to send you.” So I go to this conference and David Deutsch is speaking there and along with a lot other people, Laurie Haller, Monica Day, all these folks that I’ve working with for a long time.

So David is talking the writing and Laurie is talking about the design and Brian Kurtz is there. I get to know everybody there. What happens is while we’re there, we’re told we have to write sort of a headline, headline and lead for a new book. I think it was their annual, their health annual. So I’m like, “All right. I’m game, right, I’ll try that. They’re kind of showing us how to do it and I’m practicing and then at the end, on the very last day, Marty came in, Marty Edelston, the founder of Boardroom. We all put them up on a presentation and Marty made comments on them. He pointed to different ones and said what he thought about it.

So they put mine up and Brian said, “Oh, this is really good. You know and Marty really liked it,” and Marty says to Brian, “Who wrote it?” Before Brian can answer, Marty says, “A man or a woman?” I’m looking at this headline and there’s like nothing in the headline, right? The headline was something like, “Did your doctor read 4,826 studies this week? If not, he might have missed the one that could have saved your life.” It was about how no doctor has time to keep up with this but if you get this annual, right, you can go through and find those stuff up, okay. So Brian Kurtz says to Marty, “Well, it was Marcella.” Marty says in this great sort of low voice that he had after the stroke, this low grumbling voice, “I think that deserves a kiss.”

Rob: Now, what would he have said if a guy had written it.

Marcella: I have no idea. But Brian is looking at me like, “Mayday, mayday, right, what am I going to do?” I said, “Of course it does, right.” Marty is like 80 at this point, right, and I ran over and I get to give Marty this kiss. So when Marty passed away, I wrote a note to Brian and to Marty’s family and I said, “You know, I like to think that that was the kiss that turned me from a frog into a copywriting princess,” because Marty’s kiss began this crazy chain of events where a year later Parris Lampropoulos calls Michelle Woke at Boardroom and says, “Hey, I want to train a group of apprentices. I want to grow my agency. Do you know of anybody?”

Michelle says, “Funny you should ask. We did this thing with AWAI. We had a bunch of people do headlines and leads there. I can send you this woman who’s lead Marty picked,” then Parris gets my information from Kathy at AWAI and literally called calls me in the middle of the day at Schaffer’s to say, “Would you like to come and be my apprentice?” At the same time, David Deutsch and I have met at that conference, had formed a friendship and I had said to him, “Would you be willing to coach and train me?” He said, “I don’t usually do that.” But I said, “Well, what can I do for you? Right, what can I do for you?” He said, “Well, I’m writing copy for the Weiland Sisters for this woman’s book. If you could review it and tell me as a woman, have I … What did he say, he said, “Have I offended the broads?” Which cracked me up.

So I did, I reviewed it and he said, in all seriousness and I adore David, he said, “You know, your copy is so terrible. This point, I don’t know how to help you but you’ve got amazing instincts because I find your critiques really helpful.” So we just started swapping. I would critique something for him and then he would give me another lesson or tell me a book to read or help me try to get to the next step. It was pretty funny. So it all kind of came together, like all in this one moment in time. It was very serendipitous and I’m very grateful, right, for all of the pieces that made that come together.

Rob: That sounds so much like our relationship, Kira. My copy’s bad, I tell you what to read. You tell me how to improve my copy.

Kira: Yeah, good to have those people. It’s good to have your copy.

Marcella: Oh God.

Kira: I had like that idea with the kiss and how that transformed your career. I think it really speaks to what you did there, the power of showing up, going to conferences. What we were speaking about before we started recording, showing up at the right places with the right people and how that can really change everything. I think that’s a perfect segway into mentorship. I had wanted to ask you why mentors are so critical in the copywriting space?

Marcella: There are more and more courses now, right, and you definitely learn from courses and books and online communities and I participate in all of those. But I think what happens in a mentoring relationship is you have that one on one hands on teaching and you’re actually going through a real project together step by step. There is something magical that happens in that. It’s why medical students, right, don’t just learn on books then they actually have to go through a residency where they’re standing side by side with someone else who’s showing them how to do it and teaching them how to do the thing they’re trying to learn to do.

I think it is better now, right. Like when I first started out, if you didn’t have a mentor, you had some old books. You had maybe one or two courses and that was it, right? But now, you have a lot more materials to choose from but I still feel like that intensive learning and training one on one with a mentor is so important, just so important.

Rob: This is a hard question to answer maybe but can you point to two or three things that you learned specifically from a mentor like Parris or David that just really moved your career forward exponentially?

Marcella: I’ve had a lot of mentors in my life. I’ve had David Deutsch, Parris Lampropoulos. I’m working with Mike Ward again right now. Mark Ford, Clayton Makepeace, each one of them taught me something unique and different. I guess I’m going to turn it around a little bit and if this isn’t helpful for your audience, you let me know. But when I was thinking about your questions that you’d kind of sent me before the call, one of the things you said to me is, “You know, how does this work?” I was thinking about that each mentor offer something different, not just in he information they give you but in the style of how they do things.

Some of the thing things I learned from them had to do with the style of their teaching. So for example, Parris, more than anyone I know, he has studied what works. He hasn’t just studied it. He has broken it down into systems, patterns, formulas, rules, right, which the left brain part of me adores because then if I’m having trouble starting something, he gave me a structure, like rules like I wasn’t looking at a blank page anymore, I was like, “Oh, if I need to start a sidebar, I go to my lesson on how to start a sidebar. If I need to write bullets, I go to my lessons on how to write bullets. If I …” do you know what I mean? If I’m doing a close, I know these are the six things I have to do. So Parris gave me a real structure and as the part of that is left brained loved that because then I had a process and I love having a process because then it wasn’t vague, right?

What David gave me were these gifts of humor and playfulness. So David was a standup comedian. David is far more right brained, like in terms of just sort of creatively riffing on things. Now, that made it very hard sometimes for him to communicate with me about what needed fixed in something and he’s changed and evolved over the last 10 years that we’ve been working together to just be this amazing teacher now, right? But in the beginning, he was learning how to be a mentor in some ways and I was learning how to work with him. He didn’t have this really left brained structured way. He used to tease me, “Is that Parris rule 486?” We would crack up and laugh. He was much more about humor and playfulness so he taught me that one way to be an entertaining in copy was simple things like a double entendre or playfulness in my headlines or alliteration with words or just a little bit of humor, not like telling a one-liner but you know what I mean?

That was a gift, right. So each person brought something new to the equation that allowed me to become a richer and better copywriter because now I had not just one or two tools in my toolkit, I had dozens of them, if that makes sense.

Rob: Yeah, it does make sense. I want to ask a follow up question to that. How does a new copywriter who may not be able to afford exposure to someone like Clayton Makepeace or get on the radar of Parris, how do you find the right mentor? How do you connect with somebody who actually knows what they’re doing and they’re not just a charlatan selling a course trying to make a buck?

Marcella: Yes, I think that is a huge issue. So I say to my writers and this is a funny story, so I say to them, “You have to do your due diligence. You must qualify your mentor first. You have to do your homework. Yes, it’s flattering that they are asking you but you should do the same thing.” I did this on Parris. I think it surprised the heck out of him, right? Because the irony is that I didn’t know who he was. I was working for an obscured little option trading firm in Cincinnati, Ohio. I didn’t even know this world of these guys existed. I knew about David, right, because I’d met him at this Boardroom thing but I didn’t know about Parris nor did I know because no one told me, right, that Parris had called Michelle Woke and Michelle Woke had called Kathy and there’s this whole connection, right.

So I just get this call in the middle of the day from this guy named Parris Lampropoulos and Parris assumes that I know who he is but I don’t know who he is and he starts asking me questions that would be considered illegal if you were applying for a job because what he wants to know is that I will understand the health audience because I was, at that time, I was just 40, right, so he wants to know, “Have I had any chronic incurable conditions and what did I do to try to solve that?” He’s trying to figure out have I tried alternative, have I tried mainstream medicine, do I know what it’s like to be in pain, do I know what it’s like to be frustrated and not have a cure for something, right?

I am like, “Who are you? Any why are you asking me these questions?” Oh, he wants to know how old I am of course because he wants to know do I have arthritis. Anyway, it was pretty darn funny. At the end of that call, he tells me what he’s doing in this apprenticeship and I’m like, “Could you give me a few references that I could call? Find out like who you are and what you’re like.” Oh my God. People now are like, “You didn’t.” I’m like, “Yeah, I did. I’m like you know.” I say to people, “You know, do your homework.” I did. I called every number that Parris gave and asked them about him. If someone says to you, “Hey, I’m starting this business. We’ll have a whole team of copywriters and I’ll train you,” find out. Have they written copy before? Do they have a great reputation for leading copy teams? Even if they don’t write copy, do they have a great reputation as a chief of good copy?”

There’s a couple of ways to find a mentor. So I started out as an in-house copywriter. There’s a lot of people like Ray Robinson is now with Stansberry and I’m working with Mike Ward at the Money Map. Clayton has apprentices like Chris Allsop works with Clayton. So there are ways in which you can go to the company that that mentor is the head of or the copy chief of, right? So if you work with Parris, then you write for Advanced Bionutritionals. You can join a copy team with an amazing mentor or copy chief who leads that team. If you can’t do that, then you can take those courses, right? Again, do your homework. So Clayton Makepeace has a whole bunch of courses and a mastermind program that he offers through AWAI. John Carlton has this simple copywriting system that is amazing. Kevin Rogers has RLF.

You can find the courses that are connected to the people who have the reputation, who have they written for, have they proven themselves in the market and then there are this whole other area that’s developing like people who train you to write in the ask method or people who’d train you to write for product launch formula, right, that’s a whole another area. So it’s kind of a combination of what area do you want to write in, who’s the best mentor in that area or who has the reputation for being the best copywriter in that space, are they hiring, right, can you go to work for a company where you’ll at least get them chiefing you which is how I started with Mark Ford, I started writing for Early To Rise and that was how I had Mark Ford chiefing my copy and I did that deliberately. I’m like, “Oh, if I write for Early To Rise, then Mark Ford chiefs your copy. Done. I’ll write for Early To Rise.”

In the beginning, I wrote for far less but I would say to people, “I’m willing to do this for dirt cheap but I want your promise that this guru is reading my copy, not someone else. Like if he’ll promise to critique it and give me feedback on it, then I’ll do this for you at that rate.”

Kira: Incredible. So once you have the mentor or mentors, how can you take the feedback and criticism? How do you work with that so that you’re actually improving? Because it’s like there’s an art to that as well.

Marcella: There absolutely is. I have two ideas around that. The first is what I said at the beginning which is understand what type of teacher you ware working with and adjust accordingly. So that’s like the first thing I learned is, “Okay, if I work with Parris, the man has spent decades breaking this down, studying it, creating processes and structure. Use the structure, right?” So anything I give to him is in his structure following the things that he’s taught me. Now what I learned with David is for us to get to the same outcome, I would have to give him, it was almost like the spaghetti at the wall, right, “How about this? How about this? How about this? How about this? How about this?” He would say, “No, that’s not it. Well, that’s closer. Well, maybe this.”

He couldn’t say we’re driving to Chicago, right. Parris says, “We’re driving to Chicago. Here’s the map. Get in the car. Go to Chicago. I know I’m going to Chicago. Now, trust me, there’s a whole lot of stuff that happens on the way to Chicago that takes a ton of effort, right? But sometimes David’s like, “Well, I don’t know.” David’s very, his mind is very open so he’s the kind of person who hates to close down possibilities. With him, he’d be like, “Well, we can go to Chicago or we could go to New York or I heard Baton Rouge is really cool. Have you ever been to Hawaii? Maybe we should go to Hawaii, right?” I’m like, “Ah.” Right? Because I got to get the car to some destination.

So we had a process that evolved off staying open for maybe longer than I would with someone else, throwing a bunch of stuff out, almost we used to say that we would argue like this Jewish married couple. He’d say, “No, I don’t like that idea.” “Why not? I like this.” “Well not that and like this.” We would come to answer, right, together. So you have to understand the teacher and the style and adjust accordingly. The second thing you have to understand is when you are an apprentice, you are writing in their voice. You are not writing in your voice. You are not writing like Stephen King. You are writing in the voice of the person that you are apprenticing under. It’s not that you’re a parrot but it’s that you are in that voice.

It’s no different than you’re writing in the voice of a guru, right, because you’d … I don’t sign my promotions. They’re all signed by the guru, right? So you are writing in the voice and you have to understand that. I didn’t try to write like somebody else when I was working with Parris. My goal was to write in Parris’ style so I hand copied Parris’ promotions. I read all of Parris’ promotions. I studied what he was doing and I wrote in that voice. So the first thing you have to understand is you are writing in the style of the mentor that you are working with.

Sometimes, trying to study 15 other mentors at the same time can actually confuse you, right? You can do that to add in or learn new things but you have to remember, your primary voice needs to be the voice of the guru that you are working with. As I said, you need to understand their styles. So arguing is a really difficult thing, right? What I see many apprentices do in the beginning is they want to argue every point. Well, that is exhausting for the person who is mentoring you and in many ways it’s not respectful of the fact that they have 20 years in this career on you. So at a certain point, you just need to shut up and listen. I mean, it’s true, right? You just need to listen and learn and assume that they are correct.

Now that said, as David and I evolved and we’ve been working together for a long time and I was catching on to things, I learned that sometimes it wasn’t that the thing I was proposing was boring, it’s that I hadn’t said it in an interesting way. So I finally learned, and this was not my first day working with him, right, after many years of working with him, I learned that if I had this real gut excitement over some topic, that I just felt was so cool, so my radar my going off again because I developed it over years of writing for alternative health, I would say to … He’d say, “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” I would say, “No, it really is.” I would get all worked up and I would make my case and it was famous.

He would do this every time. We get to the end of the … It would be this pause and he’d say, “Well, when you say it that way, it’s interesting.” Then we would capture whatever that phrase is. But in the beginning, arguing every point with him and why you know more than them, why did you want to work with a mentor in the place if you thought you knew everything? Then go do it by yourself. The final thing I’ll say is ego, it is so hard for people to get out of their own ego and to understand that this is not about you, it’s about actually getting the best piece of copy for the client in front of the customer such that everyone makes the most amount of money. Or that you heal the most amount of people or help the most amount of people save their retirement.

I see that ego come out in ways that we talk about a lot. So one way is that people get so attached to their words that they refuse to change them. They fall in love with their own copy, even though there is a better way or a better idea like you have to be zen like about this. You have to just stay open and curious that there could always be just one more better solution or one more tweak or a change or a different way of looking at it because the more locked in you are to those words, the less likely you are to actually find the best solution.

You got to pull yourself away and I told this story the other day, the best lesson I ever had in ego actually came from David Deutsch. This was after we had worked together, I don’t know, maybe almost 10 years at this point, done I don’t know, 10, 12, 15 projects for Boardroom, Bottomline. I get this call at the middle of the afternoon and it’s David. David used to do this thing to me, I’d pick up the phone and it’d be like, “Joe’s Pizza. Pepperonis at the door.” I’d be like, “What?” I’d go, “Wrong number,” and I’d hang up and then I’d look and I go, “Blast it,” and I call him back and David would just be cracking up. He’d say, “God, you’re so easy. I can get you every time.

So I can’t remember if it was like the Indian restaurant or the pizza delivery so he gets me. I call him back. I’m cracking up. I’m like, “I hate you,” and he’s laughing. Then he says, “Hey, I’m calling you because Michelle Woke at Boardroom called me and I just finished this package. I turned it in and she said it’s a little flat, it’s kind of boring and she suggested that I call you and get some ideas for how we might rework these sidebars.” He’s going on and on. He’s still talk, he’s still talking and I say, “Shut up.” He goes, “What?” I said, “Shut up for a minute. You just gave me the best lesson on ego and copywriting I have ever had in my life and I just want to take a moment to appreciate you.”

He’s like, “What?” I said, “I’m your Cobb. I’m your mentee, right? Like you’ve been training me for 10 years. I write for Boardroom. You write for Boardroom and you are calling me with no ego to say, ‘Hey, Michelle said this package that I turned in was a little flat. Do you have any ideas?’ I’m like I don’t even know if I could do that, like would I be able to do that to someone I was teaching?” Say, “Hey, my client that I taught you to write for just said that maybe I should call you and I said to him, this is like unbelievable.” He’s like, “Well, I don’t care. I just want to make royalties, right?” She didn’t think it’s … But he had no ego and he had been in this industry for well over 20 years. He’s like the top 1/10 of 1% and he had no ego and I just said, “That is amazing.”

That is why he is in the top 1/10 of 1%. That is why. So when I see somebody who hasn’t even been writing six months and wants to argue with someone like David or Parris or whoever about how they actually know more about something, I think you cannot, you cannot get attached to this. The copy is just the copy. It is not you. It is something that you created but it is not you. It is not your child. This is not your baby. It is just copy that needs to go out in the world and do this bigger thing but that can’t happen if your ego is so big it’s in the way of it going out in the world and doing that bigger thing.

Rob: Marcella, I can think of a few people who might be listening to the podcast thinking, “Well, obviously Marcella’s career track is maybe one of a kind. She had all these early exposure to these great writers.” If somebody were trying to break in to direct response writing today, they want to write a control for Agora or Boardroom or one of these other great places that hire these kinds of writers. What would they do to break in and get noticed?

Marcella: Absolutely. Okay, so the first thing is, look, you don’t have to decide that you’re going write in this area for the rest of your life, right, but this is a huge broad market. So pick your beginning space, right? It kind of helps if it’s sort of tied to something you’ve been doing, right? Doesn’t have to be but it could, right? So let’s say you’ve always had an interest in the stock market. Maybe you inherited some money from your mom and put it into whatever and you decide, “I really think I want to write for the financial newsletter market.” So again, you’re like, “Who are the biggest players in the financial newsletter market and where are the best mentors?” Jedd Canty and Mike Ward are at the Money Map where I am now, they are amazing, right? Or you’ve Mike Palmer at Stansberry.

So you find who’s the best in that field, who has the best sort of marketer, copywriter guru at the helm, right. I’m not talking about the person who’s trading now. I’m talking about the person who’s leading that organization. Then you subscribe to absolutely everything you can for free. Because as soon as you’re on their free daily email list, you’re going to get every single promotion that they put out. The once that you’re getting emailed five and six times a day for the course of three or four weeks, I can guarantee you those are controls. Then you’re going to print those out and you’re going to sit down and you’re going to study them.

Think of what, do you remember how people used to learn how to paint, right? You would go to the Louvre or the MET and you would see students with their easels sitting down, copying the Mona Lisa in charcoal or whatever they’ve been assigned to do. You’re going to find the company, find the division, find that person that you want to follow. You’re going to print everything out. You are going to study it. You’re going to hand copy it. You have to do everything you can to prepare yourself and then there’s a lot of interesting things you can do like when you think about the fact of how many lift letters we need for one of those massive promotions or videos, you could offer up like write 10 of them for free and send them.

You can go to say AWAI’s job fair and complete their spec assignment because almost all of them will have one there. You can go to any other conference where that person is speaking or attending like Parris’ is talking Kevin Rogers’ even, okay, well you can go there and you can come armed with this understanding of everything they’ve written and what they’re working on so that you can communicate to them intelligently. So you have to be deliberate. But what I see people do is just go up to somebody like, I don’t know, a Clayton Makepeace and go, “Sir, are you guys hiring anybody?” I just want to smack them up side the head, right. I’m like, “That is not how you do this.”

You almost become a stalker, right? Pick your area first, just pick one thing to start with, one thing you’re interested in. It helps if you’re really jazzed about it and you really love it. Then go study everything that they do. We had a lovely woman from Hay House pop into the Titanides the other day. They’re looking for writers, right? Okay, so if you adore self help books and you have 486 of them on your shelf and you’ve read all of Louise Hay’s books, well, that’s a great place to start. Now start looking on their promotions. Study their website. Read all their copy. Get on their list so you’re emailed. Try your hand at a few small simple pieces of copy and send it to them and say, “This is who I am. I’m a copywriter. I love your work. Here’s five things I’ve done.” I’m not saying it will work every time but I’m saying it will increase your odds because now you’re learning their voice and find out if they hire copywriters. Do they work with freelancers? Are they interested in looking for new writers?

I will tell you, I get calls daily. They are always looking for new writers and they’re especially looking for new writers who already know and understand their voice. Take their copy and reverse engineer it. What are they doing? Oh, it looks like they have the short little intro here. It’s kind of a get to know you, three paragraphs then it looks like they got a benefit then it looks like … You can turn that almost into a formula, right, if you’re looking at what they’re doing.

Rob: Yeah.

Marcella: That means you are ready and I do believe that these opportunities still exists. I don’t believe that things have changed and I don’t believe that I was a one-hit wonder. I did this exact same thing, right? I did a lot of stuff for free. I just reviewed David’s copy for a year before I was actually at the point where he could even look at a headline and give me some tips. I mean, it was awful. He didn’t even know what to say. He was like, “Here’s three more books to read,” right? It was exactly what I needed. But I didn’t tell him he was an idiot and he didn’t understand my copy. I went and read the three books and started hand copying his promotions and learnings. I think in any area today those opportunities exist. I think you do have to do your due diligence before you decide you’re going to jump on board with someone because don’t you want to learn from the best, right? You want to learn from the best.

At the same time, you can still take assignments for a smaller player because that’s how you get your writing chops. The only you get better at writing is to write. That’s the secret. You want to get better, write, right? It’s not like rocket science. I like to say to people that working for Schaffer’s in the beginning of my career was a blessing because it was the wild west of the internet. People were so excited when they got an email message. They would read a message from your dry cleaners, right. Anything that came in your inbox was exciting because you got about three a day. So option traders were really early on to adapt this technology because they were already online because you had to be online to trade options and they were, either they were just a little bit more early adapters in terms of technology.

Okay, so literally, I would get an assignment on Monday and that email usually went out by Wednesday. It was like maybe seven to 10 pages and it would be about a particular strategy or something Bernie was seeing in the market but it was selling, right? One of our specific services, right, so here’s, I don’t know, earnings tips or whatever it was. So literally, I wrote two promotional emails a week, day in and day out, sometimes there were more because sometimes we wanted a special offer or one on the weekend. I just wrote nonstop for about two years. Just start writing for anybody and everybody and at the same time, set your compass for that mentor that you really want and start working towards them.

The first thing Parris said to me, “Well, send me what you’ve done.” I said, “Well dude, I’ve done nothing in health but I got about 4,000 quick and dirty hot copy for option traders. You want to see that?” Right? Parris was like, “Okay, send it to me.” He said to me, this was interesting because I said to him once years later, “My God, what did you think about that crazy stuff I was writing.” He goes, “I ran it through that language measruing thing and you were the only one who was consistently writing at that point in no more than 7th grade. You naturally got the you had to keep it simple and short and yet you were writing about a very complicated thing but you had managed to do it at a 7th grade level and that’s what convinced me you could do this.”

Kira: Oh, I…

Marcella: You never know, right, how well those dots connect. You just [inaudible 00:41:57].

Kira: No, you don’t. But I think it comes down to what you’ve said. It’s the self awareness to know where you are, what you need at that time, being really honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and then doing the work, doing your homework. I mean, everything you’ve described, it’s like, “Oh yeah, but that … Oh, that takes time. That takes effort. That takes research.” But that’s what you need to do in order to make these connections and just being humble and open. I think these are just really great reminders. I wanted to ask you a lot of other questions but I just realized we’re already at the hour. So I think we could wrap by asking you what you’re working on now, where we can find you, what you’re really excited about right now?

Rob: The nonexistent website website question.

Marcella: So on the financial side right now, I did something I’ve never done before, not since Schaffer’s actually, Mike Ward convinced me to come back and work with him for a year at the Money Map at the financial side. It turns out that I’m actually working with an options trader that I’ve known since my day at Schaffer’s who is now at the Money Map, a wonderful person named Chris Johnson. So I’m having a wonderful time. Here it is. 15 years later, right, I play a long game. So 15 years later, I’m working with Mike Ward again and with Chris Johnson at the Money Map launching services for Chris and having a blast doing that.

On the health side, I have been doing just a little bit of chiefing and sort of brainstorming back and forth with another amazing copywriter, Henry Bingaman, a friend of mine, he’s also in Kevin Rogers’ groups and many others. He works with a company called Natural Health Sherpa. They have a lot of health products for sort of overweight, gray haired middle aged women like me so I’m kind of like their Guinea pig and I’m reading copy and Henry and I are having a great time. In the way that this industry can be so interconnected, I actually introduced Henry to Marc Stockman, the CEO of the Natural Health Sherpa and lured him away from the Money Map where he was writing copy with Mike and now I’m at the Money Map and he’s with Natural Health Sherpa so that’s how it all goes around.

Those are my current two projects which I’m loving. Then I have a passion project which is that I have a organization of women copywriters, entrepreneurs and marketers in the direct response industry and actually in other industries too, I should say. It’s called the Titanides. We started at Brian Kurtz’s titans event three years ago. The women got together for a special dinner. That’s where I do a lot of my mentoring and coaching and we are having our first ever conference this year with a whole bunch of senior women in the industry speaking, talking about mentoring for women specifically. That’s Titanides, titanides.com. That right now is the only place I exist online and only because someone heard that I didn’t have a website and actually created that for me for free which I think is just absolutely amazing gift.

Rob: Great way to get noticed for sure. Well, thank you so much. This is an incredible interview, Marcella. We really appreciate you sharing all that you have and we definitely need to have you come back so we can talk about the wall of fame and about 30 other questions that we have outlined that we haven’t gotten to yet. So hopefully you will come back at some point and we can ask you all of that.

Marcella: Oh, I always love doing this. I love to pay it forward. I was really blessed to have so many people who helped me and this is something I love to do. So I hope it was helpful. You’re always welcome to call and ask whatever you need.

Kira: Thank you, Marcella.re like.” Oh my God. People now are like, “You didn’t.” I’m like, “Yeah, I did. I’m like you know.” I say to people, “You know, do your homework.” I did. I called every number that Parris gave and asked them about him. If someone says to you, “Hey, I’m starting this business. We’ll have a whole team of copywriters and I’ll train you,” find out. Have they written copy before? Do they have a great reputation for leading copy teams? Even if they don’t write copy, do they have a great reputation as a chief of good copy?”

There’s a couple of ways to find a mentor. So I started out as an in-house copywriter. There’s a lot of people like Ray Robinson is now with Stansberry and I’m working with Mike Ward at the Money Map. Clayton has apprentices like Chris Allsop works with Clayton. So there are ways in which you can go to the company that that mentor is the head of or the copy chief of, right? So if you work with Parris, then you write for Advanced Bionutritionals. You can join a copy team with an amazing mentor or copy chief who leads that team. If you can’t do that, then you can take those courses, right? Again, do your homework. So Clayton Makepeace has a whole bunch of courses and a mastermind program that he offers through AWAI. John Carlton has this simple copywriting system that is amazing. Kevin Rogers has RLF.

You can find the courses that are connected to the people who have the reputation, who have they written for, have they proven themselves in the market and then there are this whole other area that’s developing like people who train you to write in the ask method or people who’d train you to write for product launch formula, right, that’s a whole another area. So it’s kind of a combination of what area do you want to write in, who’s the best mentor in that area or who has the reputation for being the best copywriter in that space, are they hiring, right, can you go to work for a company where you’ll at least get them chiefing you which is how I started with Mark Ford, I started writing for Early To Rise and that was how I had Mark Ford chiefing my copy and I did that deliberately. I’m like, “Oh, if I write for Early To Rise, then Mark Ford chiefs your copy. Done. I’ll write for Early To Rise.”

In the beginning, I wrote for far less but I would say to people, “I’m willing to do this for dirt cheap but I want your promise that this guru is reading my copy, not someone else. Like if he’ll promise to critique it and give me feedback on it, then I’ll do this for you at that rate.”

Kira: Incredible. So once you have the mentor or mentors, how can you take the feedback and criticism? How do you work with that so that you’re actually improving? Because it’s like there’s an art to that as well.

Marcella: There absolutely is. I have two ideas around that. The first is what I said at the beginning which is understand what type of teacher you ware working with and adjust accordingly. So that’s like the first thing I learned is, “Okay, if I work with Parris, the man has spent decades breaking this down, studying it, creating processes and structure. Use the structure, right?” So anything I give to him is in his structure following the things that he’s taught me. Now what I learned with David is for us to get to the same outcome, I would have to give him, it was almost like the spaghetti at the wall, right, “How about this? How about this? How about this? How about this? How about this?” He would say, “No, that’s not it. Well, that’s closer. Well, maybe this.”

He couldn’t say we’re driving to Chicago, right. Parris says, “We’re driving to Chicago. Here’s the map. Get in the car. Go to Chicago. I know I’m going to Chicago. Now, trust me, there’s a whole lot of stuff that happens on the way to Chicago that takes a ton of effort, right? But sometimes David’s like, “Well, I don’t know.” David’s very, his mind is very open so he’s the kind of person who hates to close down possibilities. With him, he’d be like, “Well, we can go to Chicago or we could go to New York or I heard Baton Rouge is really cool. Have you ever been to Hawaii? Maybe we should go to Hawaii, right?” I’m like, “Ah.” Right? Because I got to get the car to some destination.

So we had a process that evolved off staying open for maybe longer than I would with someone else, throwing a bunch of stuff out, almost we used to say that we would argue like this Jewish married couple. He’d say, “No, I don’t like that idea.” “Why not? I like this.” “Well not that and like this.” We would come to answer, right, together. So you have to understand the teacher and the style and adjust accordingly. The second thing you have to understand is when you are an apprentice, you are writing in their voice. You are not writing in your voice. You are not writing like Stephen King. You are writing in the voice of the person that you are apprenticing under. It’s not that you’re a parrot but it’s that you are in that voice.

It’s no different than you’re writing in the voice of a guru, right, because you’d … I don’t sign my promotions. They’re all signed by the guru, right? So you are writing in the voice and you have to understand that. I didn’t try to write like somebody else when I was working with Parris. My goal was to write in Parris’ style so I hand copied Parris’ promotions. I read all of Parris’ promotions. I studied what he was doing and I wrote in that voice. So the first thing you have to understand is you are writing in the style of the mentor that you are working with.

Sometimes, trying to study 15 other mentors at the same time can actually confuse you, right? You can do that to add in or learn new things but you have to remember, your primary voice needs to be the voice of the guru that you are working with. As I said, you need to understand their styles. So arguing is a really difficult thing, right? What I see many apprentices do in the beginning is they want to argue every point. Well, that is exhausting for the person who is mentoring you and in many ways it’s not respectful of the fact that they have 20 years in this career on you. So at a certain point, you just need to shut up and listen. I mean, it’s true, right? You just need to listen and learn and assume that they are correct.

Now that said, as David and I evolved and we’ve been working together for a long time and I was catching on to things, I learned that sometimes it wasn’t that the thing I was proposing was boring, it’s that I hadn’t said it in an interesting way. So I finally learned, and this was not my first day working with him, right, after many years of working with him, I learned that if I had this real gut excitement over some topic, that I just felt was so cool, so my radar my going off again because I developed it over years of writing for alternative health, I would say to … He’d say, “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” I would say, “No, it really is.” I would get all worked up and I would make my case and it was famous.

He would do this every time. We get to the end of the … It would be this pause and he’d say, “Well, when you say it that way, it’s interesting.” Then we would capture whatever that phrase is. But in the beginning, arguing every point with him and why you know more than them, why did you want to work with a mentor in the place if you thought you knew everything? Then go do it by yourself. The final thing I’ll say is ego, it is so hard for people to get out of their own ego and to understand that this is not about you, it’s about actually getting the best piece of copy for the client in front of the customer such that everyone makes the most amount of money. Or that you heal the most amount of people or help the most amount of people save their retirement.

I see that ego come out in ways that we talk about a lot. So one way is that people get so attached to their words that they refuse to change them. They fall in love with their own copy, even though there is a better way or a better idea like you have to be zen like about this. You have to just stay open and curious that there could always be just one more better solution or one more tweak or a change or a different way of looking at it because the more locked in you are to those words, the less likely you are to actually find the best solution.

You got to pull yourself away and I told this story the other day, the best lesson I ever had in ego actually came from David Deutsch. This was after we had worked together, I don’t know, maybe almost 10 years at this point, done I don’t know, 10, 12, 15 projects for Boardroom, Bottomline. I get this call at the middle of the afternoon and it’s David. David used to do this thing to me, I’d pick up the phone and it’d be like, “Joe’s Pizza. Pepperonis at the door.” I’d be like, “What?” I’d go, “Wrong number,” and I’d hang up and then I’d look and I go, “Blast it,” and I call him back and David would just be cracking up. He’d say, “God, you’re so easy. I can get you every time.

So I can’t remember if it was like the Indian restaurant or the pizza delivery so he gets me. I call him back. I’m cracking up. I’m like, “I hate you,” and he’s laughing. Then he says, “Hey, I’m calling you because Michelle Woke at Boardroom called me and I just finished this package. I turned it in and she said it’s a little flat, it’s kind of boring and she suggested that I call you and get some ideas for how we might rework these sidebars.” He’s going on and on. He’s still talk, he’s still talking and I say, “Shut up.” He goes, “What?” I said, “Shut up for a minute. You just gave me the best lesson on ego and copywriting I have ever had in my life and I just want to take a moment to appreciate you.”

He’s like, “What?” I said, “I’m your Cobb. I’m your mentee, right? Like you’ve been training me for 10 years. I write for Boardroom. You write for Boardroom and you are calling me with no ego to say, ‘Hey, Michelle said this package that I turned in was a little flat. Do you have any ideas?’ I’m like I don’t even know if I could do that, like would I be able to do that to someone I was teaching?” Say, “Hey, my client that I taught you to write for just said that maybe I should call you and I said to him, this is like unbelievable.” He’s like, “Well, I don’t care. I just want to make royalties, right?” She didn’t think it’s … But he had no ego and he had been in this industry for well over 20 years. He’s like the top 1/10 of 1% and he had no ego and I just said, “That is amazing.”

That is why he is in the top 1/10 of 1%. That is why. So when I see somebody who hasn’t even been writing six months and wants to argue with someone like David or Parris or whoever about how they actually know more about something, I think you cannot, you cannot get attached to this. The copy is just the copy. It is not you. It is something that you created but it is not you. It is not your child. This is not your baby. It is just copy that needs to go out in the world and do this bigger thing but that can’t happen if your ego is so big it’s in the way of it going out in the world and doing that bigger thing.

Rob: Marcella, I can think of a few people who might be listening to the podcast thinking, “Well, obviously Marcella’s career track is maybe one of a kind. She had all these early exposure to these great writers.” If somebody were trying to break in to direct response writing today, they want to write a control for Agora or Boardroom or one of these other great places that hire these kinds of writers. What would they do to break in and get noticed?

Marcella: Absolutely. Okay, so the first thing is, look, you don’t have to decide that you’re going write in this area for the rest of your life, right, but this is a huge broad market. So pick your beginning space, right? It kind of helps if it’s sort of tied to something you’ve been doing, right? Doesn’t have to be but it could, right? So let’s say you’ve always had an interest in the stock market. Maybe you inherited some money from your mom and put it into whatever and you decide, “I really think I want to write for the financial newsletter market.” So again, you’re like, “Who are the biggest players in the financial newsletter market and where are the best mentors?” Jedd Canty and Mike Ward are at the Money Map where I am now, they are amazing, right? Or you’ve Mike Palmer at Stansberry.

So you find who’s the best in that field, who has the best sort of marketer, copywriter guru at the helm, right. I’m not talking about the person who’s trading now. I’m talking about the person who’s leading that organization. Then you subscribe to absolutely everything you can for free. Because as soon as you’re on their free daily email list, you’re going to get every single promotion that they put out. The once that you’re getting emailed five and six times a day for the course of three or four weeks, I can guarantee you those are controls. Then you’re going to print those out and you’re going to sit down and you’re going to study them.

Think of what, do you remember how people used to learn how to paint, right? You would go to the Louvre or the MET and you would see students with their easels sitting down, copying the Mona Lisa in charcoal or whatever they’ve been assigned to do. You’re going to find the company, find the division, find that person that you want to follow. You’re going to print everything out. You are going to study it. You’re going to hand copy it. You have to do everything you can to prepare yourself and then there’s a lot of interesting things you can do like when you think about the fact of how many lift letters we need for one of those massive promotions or videos, you could offer up like write 10 of them for free and send them.

You can go to say AWAI’s job fair and complete their spec assignment because almost all of them will have one there. You can go to any other conference where that person is speaking or attending like Parris’ is talking Kevin Rogers’ even, okay, well you can go there and you can come armed with this understanding of everything they’ve written and what they’re working on so that you can communicate to them intelligently. So you have to be deliberate. But what I see people do is just go up to somebody like, I don’t know, a Clayton Makepeace and go, “Sir, are you guys hiring anybody?” I just want to smack them up side the head, right. I’m like, “That is not how you do this.”

You almost become a stalker, right? Pick your area first, just pick one thing to start with, one thing you’re interested in. It helps if you’re really jazzed about it and you really love it. Then go study everything that they do. We had a lovely woman from Hay House pop into the Titanides the other day. They’re looking for writers, right? Okay, so if you adore self help books and you have 486 of them on your shelf and you’ve read all of Louise Hay’s books, well, that’s a great place to start. Now start looking on their promotions. Study their website. Read all their copy. Get on their list so you’re emailed. Try your hand at a few small simple pieces of copy and send it to them and say, “This is who I am. I’m a copywriter. I love your work. Here’s five things I’ve done.” I’m not saying it will work every time but I’m saying it will increase your odds because now you’re learning their voice and find out if they hire copywriters. Do they work with freelancers? Are they interested in looking for new writers?

I will tell you, I get calls daily. They are always looking for new writers and they’re especially looking for new writers who already know and understand their voice. Take their copy and reverse engineer it. What are they doing? Oh, it looks like they have the short little intro here. It’s kind of a get to know you, three paragraphs then it looks like they got a benefit then it looks like … You can turn that almost into a formula, right, if you’re looking at what they’re doing.

Rob: Yeah.

Marcella: That means you are ready and I do believe that these opportunities still exists. I don’t believe that things have changed and I don’t believe that I was a one-hit wonder. I did this exact same thing, right? I did a lot of stuff for free. I just reviewed David’s copy for a year before I was actually at the point where he could even look at a headline and give me some tips. I mean, it was awful. He didn’t even know what to say. He was like, “Here’s three more books to read,” right? It was exactly what I needed. But I didn’t tell him he was an idiot and he didn’t understand my copy. I went and read the three books and started hand copying his promotions and learnings. I think in any area today those opportunities exist. I think you do have to do your due diligence before you decide you’re going to jump on board with someone because don’t you want to learn from the best, right? You want to learn from the best.

At the same time, you can still take assignments for a smaller player because that’s how you get your writing chops. The only you get better at writing is to write. That’s the secret. You want to get better, write, right? It’s not like rocket science. I like to say to people that working for Schaffer’s in the beginning of my career was a blessing because it was the wild west of the internet. People were so excited when they got an email message. They would read a message from your dry cleaners, right. Anything that came in your inbox was exciting because you got about three a day. So option traders were really early on to adapt this technology because they were already online because you had to be online to trade options and they were, either they were just a little bit more early adapters in terms of technology.

Okay, so literally, I would get an assignment on Monday and that email usually went out by Wednesday. It was like maybe seven to 10 pages and it would be about a particular strategy or something Bernie was seeing in the market but it was selling, right? One of our specific services, right, so here’s, I don’t know, earnings tips or whatever it was. So literally, I wrote two promotional emails a week, day in and day out, sometimes there were more because sometimes we wanted a special offer or one on the weekend. I just wrote nonstop for about two years. Just start writing for anybody and everybody and at the same time, set your compass for that mentor that you really want and start working towards them.

The first thing Parris said to me, “Well, send me what you’ve done.” I said, “Well dude, I’ve done nothing in health but I got about 4,000 quick and dirty hot copy for option traders. You want to see that?” Right? Parris was like, “Okay, send it to me.” He said to me, this was interesting because I said to him once years later, “My God, what did you think about that crazy stuff I was writing.” He goes, “I ran it through that language measruing thing and you were the only one who was consistently writing at that point in no more than 7th grade. You naturally got the you had to keep it simple and short and yet you were writing about a very complicated thing but you had managed to do it at a 7th grade level and that’s what convinced me you could do this.”

Kira: Oh, I…

Marcella: You never know, right, how well those dots connect. You just [inaudible 00:41:57].

Kira: No, you don’t. But I think it comes down to what you’ve said. It’s the self awareness to know where you are, what you need at that time, being really honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and then doing the work, doing your homework. I mean, everything you’ve described, it’s like, “Oh yeah, but that … Oh, that takes time. That takes effort. That takes research.” But that’s what you need to do in order to make these connections and just being humble and open. I think these are just really great reminders. I wanted to ask you a lot of other questions but I just realized we’re already at the hour. So I think we could wrap by asking you what you’re working on now, where we can find you, what you’re really excited about right now?

Rob: The nonexistent website website question.

Marcella: So on the financial side right now, I did something I’ve never done before, not since Schaffer’s actually, Mike Ward convinced me to come back and work with him for a year at the Money Map at the financial side. It turns out that I’m actually working with an options trader that I’ve known since my day at Schaffer’s who is now at the Money Map, a wonderful person named Chris Johnson. So I’m having a wonderful time. Here it is. 15 years later, right, I play a long game. So 15 years later, I’m working with Mike Ward again and with Chris Johnson at the Money Map launching services for Chris and having a blast doing that.

On the health side, I have been doing just a little bit of chiefing and sort of brainstorming back and forth with another amazing copywriter, Henry Bingaman, a friend of mine, he’s also in Kevin Rogers’ groups and many others. He works with a company called Natural Health Sherpa. They have a lot of health products for sort of overweight, gray haired middle aged women like me so I’m kind of like their Guinea pig and I’m reading copy and Henry and I are having a great time. In the way that this industry can be so interconnected, I actually introduced Henry to Marc Stockman, the CEO of the Natural Health Sherpa and lured him away from the Money Map where he was writing copy with Mike and now I’m at the Money Map and he’s with Natural Health Sherpa so that’s how it all goes around.

Those are my current two projects which I’m loving. Then I have a passion project which is that I have a organization of women copywriters, entrepreneurs and marketers in the direct response industry and actually in other industries too, I should say. It’s called the Titanides. We started at Brian Kurtz’s titans event three years ago. The women got together for a special dinner. That’s where I do a lot of my mentoring and coaching and we are having our first ever conference this year with a whole bunch of senior women in the industry speaking, talking about mentoring for women specifically. That’s Titanides, titanides.com. That right now is the only place I exist online and only because someone heard that I didn’t have a website and actually created that for me for free which I think is just absolutely amazing gift.

Rob: Great way to get noticed for sure. Well, thank you so much. This is an incredible interview, Marcella. We really appreciate you sharing all that you have and we definitely need to have you come back so we can talk about the wall of fame and about 30 other questions that we have outlined that we haven’t gotten to yet. So hopefully you will come back at some point and we can ask you all of that.

Marcella: Oh, I always love doing this. I love to pay it forward. I was really blessed to have so many people who helped me and this is something I love to do. So I hope it was helpful. You’re always welcome to call and ask whatever you need.

Kira: Thank you, Marcella.re like.” Oh my God. People now are like, “You didn’t.” I’m like, “Yeah, I did. I’m like you know.” I say to people, “You know, do your homework.” I did. I called every number that Parris gave and asked them about him. If someone says to you, “Hey, I’m starting this business. We’ll have a whole team of copywriters and I’ll train you,” find out. Have they written copy before? Do they have a great reputation for leading copy teams? Even if they don’t write copy, do they have a great reputation as a chief of good copy?”

There’s a couple of ways to find a mentor. So I started out as an in-house copywriter. There’s a lot of people like Ray Robinson is now with Stansberry and I’m working with Mike Ward at the Money Map. Clayton has apprentices like Chris Allsop works with Clayton. So there are ways in which you can go to the company that that mentor is the head of or the copy chief of, right? So if you work with Parris, then you write for Advanced Bionutritionals. You can join a copy team with an amazing mentor or copy chief who leads that team. If you can’t do that, then you can take those courses, right? Again, do your homework. So Clayton Makepeace has a whole bunch of courses and a mastermind program that he offers through AWAI. John Carlton has this simple copywriting system that is amazing. Kevin Rogers has RLF.

You can find the courses that are connected to the people who have the reputation, who have they written for, have they proven themselves in the market and then there are this whole other area that’s developing like people who train you to write in the ask method or people who’d train you to write for product launch formula, right, that’s a whole another area. So it’s kind of a combination of what area do you want to write in, who’s the best mentor in that area or who has the reputation for being the best copywriter in that space, are they hiring, right, can you go to work for a company where you’ll at least get them chiefing you which is how I started with Mark Ford, I started writing for Early To Rise and that was how I had Mark Ford chiefing my copy and I did that deliberately. I’m like, “Oh, if I write for Early To Rise, then Mark Ford chiefs your copy. Done. I’ll write for Early To Rise.”

In the beginning, I wrote for far less but I would say to people, “I’m willing to do this for dirt cheap but I want your promise that this guru is reading my copy, not someone else. Like if he’ll promise to critique it and give me feedback on it, then I’ll do this for you at that rate.”

Kira: Incredible. So once you have the mentor or mentors, how can you take the feedback and criticism? How do you work with that so that you’re actually improving? Because it’s like there’s an art to that as well.

Marcella: There absolutely is. I have two ideas around that. The first is what I said at the beginning which is understand what type of teacher you ware working with and adjust accordingly. So that’s like the first thing I learned is, “Okay, if I work with Parris, the man has spent decades breaking this down, studying it, creating processes and structure. Use the structure, right?” So anything I give to him is in his structure following the things that he’s taught me. Now what I learned with David is for us to get to the same outcome, I would have to give him, it was almost like the spaghetti at the wall, right, “How about this? How about this? How about this? How about this? How about this?” He would say, “No, that’s not it. Well, that’s closer. Well, maybe this.”

He couldn’t say we’re driving to Chicago, right. Parris says, “We’re driving to Chicago. Here’s the map. Get in the car. Go to Chicago. I know I’m going to Chicago. Now, trust me, there’s a whole lot of stuff that happens on the way to Chicago that takes a ton of effort, right? But sometimes David’s like, “Well, I don’t know.” David’s very, his mind is very open so he’s the kind of person who hates to close down possibilities. With him, he’d be like, “Well, we can go to Chicago or we could go to New York or I heard Baton Rouge is really cool. Have you ever been to Hawaii? Maybe we should go to Hawaii, right?” I’m like, “Ah.” Right? Because I got to get the car to some destination.

So we had a process that evolved off staying open for maybe longer than I would with someone else, throwing a bunch of stuff out, almost we used to say that we would argue like this Jewish married couple. He’d say, “No, I don’t like that idea.” “Why not? I like this.” “Well not that and like this.” We would come to answer, right, together. So you have to understand the teacher and the style and adjust accordingly. The second thing you have to understand is when you are an apprentice, you are writing in their voice. You are not writing in your voice. You are not writing like Stephen King. You are writing in the voice of the person that you are apprenticing under. It’s not that you’re a parrot but it’s that you are in that voice.

It’s no different than you’re writing in the voice of a guru, right, because you’d … I don’t sign my promotions. They’re all signed by the guru, right? So you are writing in the voice and you have to understand that. I didn’t try to write like somebody else when I was working with Parris. My goal was to write in Parris’ style so I hand copied Parris’ promotions. I read all of Parris’ promotions. I studied what he was doing and I wrote in that voice. So the first thing you have to understand is you are writing in the style of the mentor that you are working with.

Sometimes, trying to study 15 other mentors at the same time can actually confuse you, right? You can do that to add in or learn new things but you have to remember, your primary voice needs to be the voice of the guru that you are working with. As I said, you need to understand their styles. So arguing is a really difficult thing, right? What I see many apprentices do in the beginning is they want to argue every point. Well, that is exhausting for the person who is mentoring you and in many ways it’s not respectful of the fact that they have 20 years in this career on you. So at a certain point, you just need to shut up and listen. I mean, it’s true, right? You just need to listen and learn and assume that they are correct.

Now that said, as David and I evolved and we’ve been working together for a long time and I was catching on to things, I learned that sometimes it wasn’t that the thing I was proposing was boring, it’s that I hadn’t said it in an interesting way. So I finally learned, and this was not my first day working with him, right, after many years of working with him, I learned that if I had this real gut excitement over some topic, that I just felt was so cool, so my radar my going off again because I developed it over years of writing for alternative health, I would say to … He’d say, “No, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” I would say, “No, it really is.” I would get all worked up and I would make my case and it was famous.

He would do this every time. We get to the end of the … It would be this pause and he’d say, “Well, when you say it that way, it’s interesting.” Then we would capture whatever that phrase is. But in the beginning, arguing every point with him and why you know more than them, why did you want to work with a mentor in the place if you thought you knew everything? Then go do it by yourself. The final thing I’ll say is ego, it is so hard for people to get out of their own ego and to understand that this is not about you, it’s about actually getting the best piece of copy for the client in front of the customer such that everyone makes the most amount of money. Or that you heal the most amount of people or help the most amount of people save their retirement.

I see that ego come out in ways that we talk about a lot. So one way is that people get so attached to their words that they refuse to change them. They fall in love with their own copy, even though there is a better way or a better idea like you have to be zen like about this. You have to just stay open and curious that there could always be just one more better solution or one more tweak or a change or a different way of looking at it because the more locked in you are to those words, the less likely you are to actually find the best solution.

You got to pull yourself away and I told this story the other day, the best lesson I ever had in ego actually came from David Deutsch. This was after we had worked together, I don’t know, maybe almost 10 years at this point, done I don’t know, 10, 12, 15 projects for Boardroom, Bottomline. I get this call at the middle of the afternoon and it’s David. David used to do this thing to me, I’d pick up the phone and it’d be like, “Joe’s Pizza. Pepperonis at the door.” I’d be like, “What?” I’d go, “Wrong number,” and I’d hang up and then I’d look and I go, “Blast it,” and I call him back and David would just be cracking up. He’d say, “God, you’re so easy. I can get you every time.

So I can’t remember if it was like the Indian restaurant or the pizza delivery so he gets me. I call him back. I’m cracking up. I’m like, “I hate you,” and he’s laughing. Then he says, “Hey, I’m calling you because Michelle Woke at Boardroom called me and I just finished this package. I turned it in and she said it’s a little flat, it’s kind of boring and she suggested that I call you and get some ideas for how we might rework these sidebars.” He’s going on and on. He’s still talk, he’s still talking and I say, “Shut up.” He goes, “What?” I said, “Shut up for a minute. You just gave me the best lesson on ego and copywriting I have ever had in my life and I just want to take a moment to appreciate you.”

He’s like, “What?” I said, “I’m your Cobb. I’m your mentee, right? Like you’ve been training me for 10 years. I write for Boardroom. You write for Boardroom and you are calling me with no ego to say, ‘Hey, Michelle said this package that I turned in was a little flat. Do you have any ideas?’ I’m like I don’t even know if I could do that, like would I be able to do that to someone I was teaching?” Say, “Hey, my client that I taught you to write for just said that maybe I should call you and I said to him, this is like unbelievable.” He’s like, “Well, I don’t care. I just want to make royalties, right?” She didn’t think it’s … But he had no ego and he had been in this industry for well over 20 years. He’s like the top 1/10 of 1% and he had no ego and I just said, “That is amazing.”

That is why he is in the top 1/10 of 1%. That is why. So when I see somebody who hasn’t even been writing six months and wants to argue with someone like David or Parris or whoever about how they actually know more about something, I think you cannot, you cannot get attached to this. The copy is just the copy. It is not you. It is something that you created but it is not you. It is not your child. This is not your baby. It is just copy that needs to go out in the world and do this bigger thing but that can’t happen if your ego is so big it’s in the way of it going out in the world and doing that bigger thing.

Rob: Marcella, I can think of a few people who might be listening to the podcast thinking, “Well, obviously Marcella’s career track is maybe one of a kind. She had all these early exposure to these great writers.” If somebody were trying to break in to direct response writing today, they want to write a control for Agora or Boardroom or one of these other great places that hire these kinds of writers. What would they do to break in and get noticed?

Marcella: Absolutely. Okay, so the first thing is, look, you don’t have to decide that you’re going write in this area for the rest of your life, right, but this is a huge broad market. So pick your beginning space, right? It kind of helps if it’s sort of tied to something you’ve been doing, right? Doesn’t have to be but it could, right? So let’s say you’ve always had an interest in the stock market. Maybe you inherited some money from your mom and put it into whatever and you decide, “I really think I want to write for the financial newsletter market.” So again, you’re like, “Who are the biggest players in the financial newsletter market and where are the best mentors?” Jedd Canty and Mike Ward are at the Money Map where I am now, they are amazing, right? Or you’ve Mike Palmer at Stansberry.

So you find who’s the best in that field, who has the best sort of marketer, copywriter guru at the helm, right. I’m not talking about the person who’s trading now. I’m talking about the person who’s leading that organization. Then you subscribe to absolutely everything you can for free. Because as soon as you’re on their free daily email list, you’re going to get every single promotion that they put out. The once that you’re getting emailed five and six times a day for the course of three or four weeks, I can guarantee you those are controls. Then you’re going to print those out and you’re going to sit down and you’re going to study them.

Think of what, do you remember how people used to learn how to paint, right? You would go to the Louvre or the MET and you would see students with their easels sitting down, copying the Mona Lisa in charcoal or whatever they’ve been assigned to do. You’re going to find the company, find the division, find that person that you want to follow. You’re going to print everything out. You are going to study it. You’re going to hand copy it. You have to do everything you can to prepare yourself and then there’s a lot of interesting things you can do like when you think about the fact of how many lift letters we need for one of those massive promotions or videos, you could offer up like write 10 of them for free and send them.

You can go to say AWAI’s job fair and complete their spec assignment because almost all of them will have one there. You can go to any other conference where that person is speaking or attending like Parris’ is talking Kevin Rogers’ even, okay, well you can go there and you can come armed with this understanding of everything they’ve written and what they’re working on so that you can communicate to them intelligently. So you have to be deliberate. But what I see people do is just go up to somebody like, I don’t know, a Clayton Makepeace and go, “Sir, are you guys hiring anybody?” I just want to smack them up side the head, right. I’m like, “That is not how you do this.”

You almost become a stalker, right? Pick your area first, just pick one thing to start with, one thing you’re interested in. It helps if you’re really jazzed about it and you really love it. Then go study everything that they do. We had a lovely woman from Hay House pop into the Titanides the other day. They’re looking for writers, right? Okay, so if you adore self help books and you have 486 of them on your shelf and you’ve read all of Louise Hay’s books, well, that’s a great place to start. Now start looking on their promotions. Study their website. Read all their copy. Get on their list so you’re emailed. Try your hand at a few small simple pieces of copy and send it to them and say, “This is who I am. I’m a copywriter. I love your work. Here’s five things I’ve done.” I’m not saying it will work every time but I’m saying it will increase your odds because now you’re learning their voice and find out if they hire copywriters. Do they work with freelancers? Are they interested in looking for new writers?

I will tell you, I get calls daily. They are always looking for new writers and they’re especially looking for new writers who already know and understand their voice. Take their copy and reverse engineer it. What are they doing? Oh, it looks like they have the short little intro here. It’s kind of a get to know you, three paragraphs then it looks like they got a benefit then it looks like … You can turn that almost into a formula, right, if you’re looking at what they’re doing.

Rob: Yeah.

Marcella: That means you are ready and I do believe that these opportunities still exists. I don’t believe that things have changed and I don’t believe that I was a one-hit wonder. I did this exact same thing, right? I did a lot of stuff for free. I just reviewed David’s copy for a year before I was actually at the point where he could even look at a headline and give me some tips. I mean, it was awful. He didn’t even know what to say. He was like, “Here’s three more books to read,” right? It was exactly what I needed. But I didn’t tell him he was an idiot and he didn’t understand my copy. I went and read the three books and started hand copying his promotions and learnings. I think in any area today those opportunities exist. I think you do have to do your due diligence before you decide you’re going to jump on board with someone because don’t you want to learn from the best, right? You want to learn from the best.

At the same time, you can still take assignments for a smaller player because that’s how you get your writing chops. The only you get better at writing is to write. That’s the secret. You want to get better, write, right? It’s not like rocket science. I like to say to people that working for Schaffer’s in the beginning of my career was a blessing because it was the wild west of the internet. People were so excited when they got an email message. They would read a message from your dry cleaners, right. Anything that came in your inbox was exciting because you got about three a day. So option traders were really early on to adapt this technology because they were already online because you had to be online to trade options and they were, either they were just a little bit more early adapters in terms of technology.

Okay, so literally, I would get an assignment on Monday and that email usually went out by Wednesday. It was like maybe seven to 10 pages and it would be about a particular strategy or something Bernie was seeing in the market but it was selling, right? One of our specific services, right, so here’s, I don’t know, earnings tips or whatever it was. So literally, I wrote two promotional emails a week, day in and day out, sometimes there were more because sometimes we wanted a special offer or one on the weekend. I just wrote nonstop for about two years. Just start writing for anybody and everybody and at the same time, set your compass for that mentor that you really want and start working towards them.

The first thing Parris said to me, “Well, send me what you’ve done.” I said, “Well dude, I’ve done nothing in health but I got about 4,000 quick and dirty hot copy for option traders. You want to see that?” Right? Parris was like, “Okay, send it to me.” He said to me, this was interesting because I said to him once years later, “My God, what did you think about that crazy stuff I was writing.” He goes, “I ran it through that language measruing thing and you were the only one who was consistently writing at that point in no more than 7th grade. You naturally got the you had to keep it simple and short and yet you were writing about a very complicated thing but you had managed to do it at a 7th grade level and that’s what convinced me you could do this.”

Kira: Oh, I…

Marcella: You never know, right, how well those dots connect. You just [inaudible 00:41:57].

Kira: No, you don’t. But I think it comes down to what you’ve said. It’s the self awareness to know where you are, what you need at that time, being really honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and then doing the work, doing your homework. I mean, everything you’ve described, it’s like, “Oh yeah, but that … Oh, that takes time. That takes effort. That takes research.” But that’s what you need to do in order to make these connections and just being humble and open. I think these are just really great reminders. I wanted to ask you a lot of other questions but I just realized we’re already at the hour. So I think we could wrap by asking you what you’re working on now, where we can find you, what you’re really excited about right now?

Rob: The nonexistent website website question.

Marcella: So on the financial side right now, I did something I’ve never done before, not since Schaffer’s actually, Mike Ward convinced me to come back and work with him for a year at the Money Map at the financial side. It turns out that I’m actually working with an options trader that I’ve known since my day at Schaffer’s who is now at the Money Map, a wonderful person named Chris Johnson. So I’m having a wonderful time. Here it is. 15 years later, right, I play a long game. So 15 years later, I’m working with Mike Ward again and with Chris Johnson at the Money Map launching services for Chris and having a blast doing that.

On the health side, I have been doing just a little bit of chiefing and sort of brainstorming back and forth with another amazing copywriter, Henry Bingaman, a friend of mine, he’s also in Kevin Rogers’ groups and many others. He works with a company called Natural Health Sherpa. They have a lot of health products for sort of overweight, gray haired middle aged women like me so I’m kind of like their Guinea pig and I’m reading copy and Henry and I are having a great time. In the way that this industry can be so interconnected, I actually introduced Henry to Marc Stockman, the CEO of the Natural Health Sherpa and lured him away from the Money Map where he was writing copy with Mike and now I’m at the Money Map and he’s with Natural Health Sherpa so that’s how it all goes around.

Those are my current two projects which I’m loving. Then I have a passion project which is that I have a organization of women copywriters, entrepreneurs and marketers in the direct response industry and actually in other industries too, I should say. It’s called the Titanides. We started at Brian Kurtz’s titans event three years ago. The women got together for a special dinner. That’s where I do a lot of my mentoring and coaching and we are having our first ever conference this year with a whole bunch of senior women in the industry speaking, talking about mentoring for women specifically. That’s Titanides, titanides.com. That right now is the only place I exist online and only because someone heard that I didn’t have a website and actually created that for me for free which I think is just absolutely amazing gift.

Rob: Great way to get noticed for sure. Well, thank you so much. This is an incredible interview, Marcella. We really appreciate you sharing all that you have and we definitely need to have you come back so we can talk about the wall of fame and about 30 other questions that we have outlined that we haven’t gotten to yet. So hopefully you will come back at some point and we can ask you all of that.

Marcella: Oh, I always love doing this. I love to pay it forward. I was really blessed to have so many people who helped me and this is something I love to do. So I hope it was helpful. You’re always welcome to call and ask whatever you need.

Kira: Thank you, Marcella.

 

 

 

Get the next episode in your inbox.

Sign up now and we’ll send you a short note each time we post a new interview.

2 comments On TCC Podcast #48: Copy Mentoring with Marcella Allison

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.

Site Footer

Sliding Sidebar